OverDrive, Inc., a digital content vendor, has announced the availability of a next generation platform for distribution and enjoyment of digital audio books. OverDrive Audio Books, built on the framework of Microsoft Windows Media Player, allow consumers to download and navigate, listen to, and enjoy audio materials. Publisher, retail, and library Web sites using the platform will include Fictionwise.com, WHSmith Online, eFollett.com, King County Library System, Cleveland Public Library, and special libraries for the visually impaired such as the Mid-Illinois Talking Book Center. OverDrive Audio Books can be played on PCs and notebooks, burned to CD, or transferred to portable devices, including Pocket PCs, Smartphones, and MP3 devices that support Windows Media Audio format. The platform was also designed to provide improved accessibility to audio materials for the sight impaired.
A growing collection of unabridged titles will be available for retail distribution and for libraries to lend to their patrons. Authors available in the format include Nora Roberts, Tom Clancy, Stephen Coonts, P.J. O'Rourke, Elizabeth Lowell, Amy Tan, and Catherine Coulter. OverDrive uses Windows Media Tools for copyright protection. Highlights of the new platform include: OverDrive Media Console--a free Windows-based software application for organizing and using OverDrive Audio Book titles. OverDrive Media Explorer--displays on-screen information and direct links to available parts, chapters, and pages within an audio book. OverDrive MediaMarkers--navigational cues embedded within each track that allow users to jump directly to a specific location within an audio book.