Reach Your Reading Goal This Year with Overdrive

Always be learning. That’s one of my mottos. What can I say…I’m a teacher by trade. If you’re not formally in a classroom, reading is the best way to make sure you’re learning each and every day. And you must have a reading goal.

Every year I set a reading goal. Last year I set out to read 12 books. Here are a few of those books. This year that number is 24. Is that kind of reading goal achievable with four kids, three jobs, and too much to do (see what I did there)?

I’m here to tell you that it’s more than achievable if you use the tools at your disposal.

hands hand book reading

Last year I was able to reach and surpass my reading goal thanks to an app I found and my local library. And the best part, it’s completely FREE.

Here’s what you can do to reach your reading goal this year.

Step 1: Download the Overdrive app or check out the website. You have to have a library card to check out ebooks and audiobooks through Overdrive, but you should be going to the library anyway.

Step 2: Check out books and begin reading.

Here’s a quick review of Overdrive’s features, what I love, and what could be better.

Pros:

  1. Cost – Overdrive is 100% free and you can read and listen to books on your devices by checking out books through your local library
  2. Kindle Books – Books can be downloaded either as an ebook read in Overdrive or as .mobi files and added to your Kindle library. This can be useful for saving your highlights to Evernote.
  3. Audiobooks – If most audiobooks are out of your price range through popular apps like Audible, remember that the books in Overdrive are owned by the library and rented by you. You’ll never pay. You also have the luxury to listen to books at 2x speed. Free audiobooks are awesome and make long commutes feel productive.
  4. Easy Library Management – Managing your library can get overwhelming, but Overdrive makes it easy to see only the books you have checked out using your “bookshelf.” It’s simple to return books. And if you forget to return a book, it will automatically be returned for you.
  5. Offline Ability – I regularly drive through parts of Montana where there’s no cell service. Audiobooks have to be saved on my device since streaming is literally impossible. Having a local copy ensures I can listen to books wherever I go.
  6. Recommended Books – Not sure what to read next? Overdrive has an awesome feature that recommends books based on what you’ve read and what’s trending. This feature helps me expand my horizons and check out books I might have missed.

Cons:

  1. Selection Limited Based on Local Library – Unlike Amazon or Audible, the only books available on Overdrive are ones that have been purchased by your local library.  You’re limited by the number of copies your library owns.
  2. Limited Time – Just like checking a book out from the Library, Overdrive has a time limit. You can choose to check out a book for a 7 or 14 days before it’s returned. If you didn’t have a chance to finish it, you better hope someone wasn’t on the waiting list so you have a chance to check it out again.
  3. Waiting Lists – One reason to use Amazon or Audible is that you can get whatever books you want whenever you want them. Often times with Overdrive you’ll have to get on the waiting list until your book becomes available. But hey, you can read another book in the meantime.
  4. Must Return Books – If you like your book you can keep your book unless you’re using Overdrive. The library owns it, not you. So if you plan on referencing a book later, you’ll have to buy a copy or take great notes.
  5. No 3x Speed for Audio Books – The purpose of audiobooks, in my opinion, is to get through material more quickly and efficiently so I can get the big ideas and implement them right away. I love using 3x speed because I can dramatically cut my reading time while still getting most of the information. But, the fastest speed Overdrive can handle is 2x.

If you’re looking to get through your reading list this year, discover new books, or even save a little cash check out Overdrive. It’s the only way I was able to reach my goal last year and is now the center of streamlining my reading.

Want to connect and share what you’re reading, you can find me on Goodreads.

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