Overdrive is the largest company involved in the digital library sector and they control over 85% of the entire market. One of the hot new segments in publishing right now is Read-Along eBooks. These are interactive titles that are aimed at kids and have a number of narration features. OverDrive has just announced that they have signed an agreement with French technology company Nord Compo and Book Buddy to be their preferred technology provider in the expansion of our popular Read-Along eBooks.
According to Alexis Petric-Black, Publisher Account Services Manager at OverDrive, “The Read-Along eBook category is one of our highest growth areas. Combining our technology with that of our technology partners allows publishers who have not created Read-Alongs or who want to expand their Read-Along eBook offering to deliver popular eBooks with word, line or page highlighting, providing our educational and library clients with a great learning tool that entertains young readers and enhances their skills at the same time”.
Brett Hodus, president of Book Buddy adds, “Librarians and educators have long known that a Read-Along eBook with text-highlighting is a great tool for teaching reading, especially for reluctant readers and ESL students. However, up to now it’s been cost prohibitive to create the needed files. Combining Nord Compo’s technology with ours brings the production costs down to a manageable level.”
Larry Bennett, Nord Compo’s Executive Director for North America, commented, “Providing publishers with technology to facilitate education has been part of Nord Compo’s culture for decades. We are proud to be part of this collaboration.”
Book Buddy records the Read-Along soundtracks in their state-of-the-art recording studios, using professional voice actors. Nord Compo produces HTML-based FLO ePUB3 files utilizing proprietary technology that facilitates rapid, highly cost-effective synchronization with MP3 files, including text highlighting.
OverDrive, through its browser based reading technology OverDrive Read, provides the platform and the user interface that allows readers to read and listen to the story at the same time, along with its unparalleled worldwide distribution network, making these enhanced eBooks widely available to millions of readers worldwide. The result is an affordable, high-quality Read-Along eBook with audio track, whose text highlighting helps teach reading to young children, reluctant readers and ESL students.
Michael Kozlowski is the Editor in Chief of Good e-Reader. He has been writing about audiobooks and e-readers for the past ten years. His articles have been picked up by major and local news sources and websites such as the CBC, CNET, Engadget, Huffington Post and the New York Times.