Monday, November 10, 2014

Listen up! Narrated eBooks now available

With the most recent release of OverDrive Read, we’ve introduced eBooks that are enhanced with embedded audio. This new feature means that you can get eBooks (through OverDrive Read) that deliver professional narration along with the text.

Here’s a sample of Spork, by Kyo Maclear and Isabelle Arsenault. Click Start narration to see how it works:

Some of these eBooks include a full-blown soundtrack with sound effects, like Mud Puddle by Robert Munsch:

These two samples aren’t just narrated; they’re also examples of fixed-layout eBooks. “Fixed layout” means that a publisher can design the digital pages of each eBook so that they look just like the ones in the print version, with every word and picture in its proper place. These look best in the full-screen preview mode so you get a two-page spread.

In these two samples, each word is highlighted as the narrator reads. This works with many narrated titles (depending on the publisher), and is great for helping developing readers learn because they can simultaneously hear and read each word as a story progresses.

The narrated titles we offer are high-quality productions that have been tested for quality before being made available for sale. Randy Travis, John Lithgow, and Robert Munsch are just a few of the great narrators we offer. Heck, we’ve even got Ray Charles (yes, that Ray Charles) reading Chicka Chicka Boom Boom by Bill Martin and John Archambault!

You can find narrated titles by filtering your advanced search results by the special feature “Embedded audio” in the OverDrive MarketPlace. We’ve also compiled a list (you’ll need to be signed into MarketPlace to view this link). If you want to keep track of what’s getting updated in OverDrive Read in the future, you can check out our “What’s New?” help article (which we update regularly) for more information. OverDrive Help also has you covered with articles specifically for narrated eBooks that include the basic “how-tos” and compatibility information.

With that, I bid you, happy reading! Er . . . listening? Both? In any case, go out and enjoy some eBooks! I’m off to partake of the dulcet tones of Mr. Ray Charles.

Quinton Lawman is a Technical Writer at OverDrive.

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