Library Ebooks & The Indie Author Conundrum, Part 1

This post, by William Van Winkle, originally appeared on his Behind the Lines blog on 3/28/11.

"Turbulence is life force. It is opportunity. Let’s love turbulence and use it for change."
–Ramsay Clark

In case I haven’t mentioned it in the last three or four minutes, I have a new book out, and like every independent, fledgling author, I’m trying to come up with different ways to find an audience — no small trick when your book is digital-only and digital still comprises less than 15% of the total book market.

I’m an avid library patron, and, as an audiobook nut, I’ve dabbled with OverDrive’s Library2Go service over the years. Library2Go (L2G) is my home state’s chosen conduit for making electronic media available to library patrons over the Internet. Most people to whom I mention the service have no idea that it even exists…perhaps for good reason. Historically, I’ve found L2G fairly underwhelming. I had trouble finding enough audiobooks that were in MP3 format, not DRM-constrained WMA, and the titles that interested me were few and far between. I went a year, perhaps two, without looking at the site 

And then something amazing happened. Library2Go hit puberty. We often forget that most librarians, like teachers, have the public’s welfare in their minds and hearts, and they work every day trying to help make the world better. I can only assume that it was librarians (and, behind them, a fleet of impatient patrons) responsible for not only a significant rise in the number of quality audiobooks available but also the recent appearance of ebooks.

The last time I touched OverDrive, I was listening to audiobooks on a 5G iPod. Today, all of my listening filters through a Motorola Droid. (For would-be audiobook listeners, I found my 2007/2008 BlackBerry and other "legacy" cell phones inferior to the iPod for this task. This is no longer the case. Media player apps have matured to the point that they’re at least as convenient for book enjoyment as traditional music devices.) OverDrive’s player app, called Media Console, is available for Windows, Mac, Android, BlackBerry, iPhone/iPad, and Windows Mobile.

Read the rest of the post on Behind the Lines, and also see Part 2.