OverDrive‘s nifty Libby app for library patrons is so much easier to use than earlier alternatives.

But Libby lacked an all-text boldface option, a “must” for library patrons with contrast sensitivity issues—especially older people. That included me, even after cataract surgery.

Now OverDrive has wised up. I’m not sure when it happened, but, yes, boldface is there in the current iOS and Android versions of Libby. No longer must I call up the Kindle versions of OverDrive library books to enjoy bold. Result? I’m more likely to use the OverDrive service. Others may feel the same. Accessibility pays off.

TeleRead begged, begged, begged for bold in Libby, pestering the company with multiple queries to the PR office, and now I’ll be egotistical enough to think that this might have made a difference. Thanks, OverDrive!

It’s good to see OverDrive catch up with Amazon, which earlier started offering bold in both apps and dedicated e-reading hardware after years of pleas from TeleRead and others.

Libby’s new bold feature could be easier to enjoy—I’d like a quick, easy toggle displayed more conspicuously—but at least it’s there. What’s more, if you own an iPhone or iPad, you can bold a bunch of fonts.

Working with bold in iOS are Palatino, Georgia, Old style, Cochin, Serif and Sans Serif. Alas, so far, Libby’s Android version offers bold only in Serif and nonSerif.

Here’s a screenshot, from Charles Dickens: A Life, showing bold in action on my iPad Pro:


How to go bold

  1. While reading a book in Libby, click on the hamburger-style icon in the upper right.
  2. Tap Reading Settings, the 5th option, the next to the last.
  3. Hit Custom, at the end of the list.
  4. Choose your font.
  5. Then select a Heavy font weight.

An older OverDrive app already offered bold via its setting menus. Great to see Libby catch up.

Still  on my OverDrive wish list: text to speech, not just the existing audio books. Not all publishers would go along with this, but OverDrive should give it a try. For that matter, I’d love to see TTS in Kobo E Ink readers, available from Rakuten, OverDrive’s sister company.

What do you think, OverDrive? And, readers, the comments section beckons. Of all people, library vendors need to care about accessibility.