K-12 Education FAQs


Your OverDrive school platform is a custom website that gives students 24/7 access to your digital content, which may include ebooks, audiobooks, streaming videos, and/or periodicals. Each district or school builds their individual content plan from our catalog of millions of titles from over 5,000 publishers. Once your website launches, educators can assign content and also allow students to browse and access content on their own, if desired. Students can access titles in many different ways: through the OverDrive app, in their browser, on eReaders or MP3 players, or in Kindle reading apps (U.S. only).

Yes, OverDrive offers a robust collection of free, real-time reports that allow school personnel to track their digital content.

OverDrive has a lot of free training and support options, including:

  • Live webinars and webcasts to familiarize your educators and staff with OverDrive and your digital content.
  • Archived webinars about your platform and digital content, the OverDrive app, and OverDrive Marketplace.
  • Digital and printable marketing, promotional, and getting-started materials for your digital content.
  • Support for school staff (via Marketplace) for troubleshooting and questions.
  • A help page for students and school staff, linked to your main digital content website, with information on getting started with borrowing, reading/listening/watching, renewing, and more, as well as how-to steps for other site features.

OverDrive also offers Front Line Tech Support, which is an add-on service that allows your students to get help directly from our OverDrive support team. Please ask a sales rep for more information.

About school collections

OverDrive offers a growing catalog of millions of digital titles from over 5,000 publishers for children and young adults. This K-12 catalog covers virtually all units of study for both curriculum and literacy engagement. We’re constantly working with new and existing publishers to add titles to the catalog.

You can subscribe to OverDrive’s weekly email newsletter, ContentWire, to learn about new publishers and titles that are added to our catalog. Staff can also browse and search for new titles, filtered by date added, subject, and more, using the extensive search options in OverDrive Marketplace.

No, students will only have access to your school’s content. OverDrive allows your district or school to create its own custom content plan. Your team will be able to browse OverDrive’s extensive catalog and select titles based on your school’s curriculum and content needs. The “Recommend” feature also allows students the opportunity to recommend titles for your school to purchase.

OverDrive offers several different options for adding digital titles to your platform. Some titles can be purchased or rented with the option to allow simultaneous access to an unlimited number of students. Some titles are purchased as individual copies; so, for example, if your content plan only has one copy of a title, then only one student can access that specific title at a time. These individual copies can be used from year to year and never expire. Other options include title rentals ranging from 2 months up to 2 years.

Yes, with publisher permission, OverDrive can assist you in transferring content from another vendor to our platform. Please contact your Account Specialist for more information.

No, you must subscribe to one of OverDrive’s services to access our catalog of titles.

We provide a variety of MARC record options for cataloging your digital content. OverDrive MARC Express offers ready-to-load minimal MARC records to your school at no cost.

OverDrive also works with BDS (UK supplier), eBiblioFile, and OCLC to make full, ready-to-load MARC records available for a small fee.

Additionally, OverDrive provides a suite of APIs that can offer a deeper integration between your OverDrive content and your existing content catalog. We partner with vendors like Polaris, SirsiDynix, and Bibliocommons (among many others), who can help pair together your physical and digital collections.

An ebook is the digital version of a print book that you can read, and an audiobook is the recorded version of a book that you can listen to.

Accessing digital titles

Your school determines the number of titles a student can access at a time.

Titles automatically expire at the end of their access period and are returned to your collection of digital content. Most titles can be returned early through the OverDrive app, Adobe Digital Editions, or your school’s OverDrive website.

Yes, but renewing digital titles works a little differently than renewing physical materials. Renewing a title places an advance hold on a title so the student can access it again as soon as their original access period ends (if there aren’t existing holds on the title).

Your school can choose the access period for each type of content in your plan. You can set a specific length of time for access, or provide options for students to choose the access period that works best for them.

Classroom sets have longer access periods, ranging from a few weeks to the length of the school year. Your school can request a specific access period to align content with the length of a class or unit.

Some publishers reserve the right to set an access period, which will override your school’s preferred settings.

If all available copies of a title are in use, students can place that title on hold.

Your school determines the number of holds that a student can place at a time.

To place a hold, your student can select Place a Hold, then enter his or her student login. When the title becomes available for them to access, the student will receive a notification on your school’s OverDrive website (and also via email, if they’re over 13 years old). The item will be held for a number of days, determined by your school, after the student receives notice that the title is available. If he or she does not access the item during that period of time, the next student in line will be notified, or it will be returned to your collection of digital content.

About software, devices, and features

Students won’t need any special software to enjoy many OverDrive titles. Most titles are available in the OverDrive Read or OverDrive Listen formats, which allow students to read or listen to these titles right in their web browser. Streaming videos can also usually be played right in the student’s web browser, without the need for extra software.

If students want to download titles, they can use OverDrive’s free mobile or desktop apps, or free Adobe Digital Editions software (for downloading on computers).

If your students want to download titles in the Kindle Book format (U.S. only), they’ll need the free Kindle reading app.

OverDrive has a lot of options for students and schools with differing technology needs. Here are examples of devices that work with OverDrive:

  • Tablets (Android, iOS, Windows)
  • Smartphones (Android, iOS, Windows Phone)
  • Chromebooks
  • Windows and Mac computers
  • eReaders
  • Kindle devices
  • MP3 players

Visit our device profiles to learn more about which formats and software work with common devices.

The OverDrive app is compatible with tablets, smartphones, and computers with Android, ChromeOS, iOS (iPhone/iPad/iPod touch), Windows Phone 8, or Windows 8.1 and above.

For more app compatibility information, visit this help article.

Yes, students can add bookmarks in any title. If you’re using OverDrive Read or OverDrive Listen (our browser-based reader and player), you’ll also be able to add annotations to borrowed titles.

Printing and copy/paste are permissions that are set by the publisher. These permissions vary by title.

Yes, all audiobooks offered through OverDrive can be burned to a CD.


OverDrive can send authentication requests to active directory or federated authentication servers to validate students. We can also use your existing integrated library system database via SIP2, EZproxy, or similar protocol. For Follett Destiny customers, OverDrive supports a single sign-on (SSO) integration between Follett Destiny and the OverDrive platform for the users’ Destiny accounts. If none of these options are suitable, we can also authenticate your students with an OverDrive-developed system at no additional cost.