Public Library FAQs

Overview

Your OverDrive digital library is a custom digital collection of ebooks, audiobooks, magazines, and streaming videos that is open to your users 24/7. Each library builds their individual digital collection from our catalog of millions of titles from over 30,000 publishers. Once your collection is live, users can browse your digital offerings, borrow titles, and enjoy them in many different ways: through the Libby app or the OverDrive app, in their browser, on ereaders or MP3 players, or on Kindle devices and reading apps (U.S. only).

Yes. OverDrive offers a robust collection of free, real-time reports that allow library staff to track their digital collections.

OverDrive provides a variety of free training and support resources, including:

  • Custom one-on-one training sessions, live webcasts, and on-demand training
  • Digital and printable marketing, promotional, and getting-started materials for your digital collection
  • Support for your library staff members (via Marketplace) for troubleshooting and questions
  • Support for the Libby app (Libby users can contact OverDrive Support directly through the app)
  • An OverDrive Help website with getting-started steps, troubleshooting tips, and how-to articles about all OverDrive topics for library staff and users
  • A dedicated Libby Help website with how-to articles about the Libby app for library staff and users

OverDrive also offers Front Line Tech Support, an add-on service in which OverDrive’s support team fields all of your end users’ questions (not just questions submitted through the Libby app). Please ask a sales rep or your Account Manager for more information.

About library collections

OverDrive offers a growing catalog of millions of digital titles from over 30,000 publishers for library users of all ages. This catalog covers virtually all genres and includes popular publishers and many bestsellers. 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 to Marketplace, release date, and more) using the extensive search options in OverDrive Marketplace.

No. Each library creates its own custom digital collection for their users. Your team will be able to browse OverDrive’s extensive catalog and select titles based on your library’s collection development goals. If you enable the “recommend to library” feature for your library, users will also be able to recommend titles from the entire OverDrive catalog for your library to purchase.

OverDrive offers several different lending models for digital content. Titles available under the Simultaneous Use model can be borrowed simultaneously by an unlimited number of users. Many OverDrive titles are available under the One Copy/One User lending model. This means that if your digital library only has one copy of a title, then only one user can borrow that specific title at a time, just as if it were a physical book. The more copies you own, the more copies can be borrowed simultaneously. Some publishers offer other lending models that let you rent titles for a certain period of time or number of circulations, or pay only when titles circulate.

Yes. With publisher permission, OverDrive can assist you in transferring content from another vendor to our platform. Please contact your Account Manager 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 library at no cost.

OverDrive also works with BDS, 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, Innovative Interfaces, TLC, and Bibliocommons (among many others), who can help pair together your physical and digital collections.

Lending digital titles

Your library determines the number of titles your users can borrow at a time.

Titles automatically expire at the end of their lending period and are returned to your library, so users never have to worry about late fees.

If users finish titles early, they can return them manually to free up space in their account.

Yes. Users can renew digital titles if there are no holds on the title.

Your library can choose the lending period for each type of content in your collection (ebooks, audiobooks, magazines, and videos). For ebooks, audiobooks, and magazines, you can choose to lend titles for 7, 14, or 21 days. For videos, choose from 3, 5, or 7 days.

Your library can offer multiple lending periods per content type. For example, you may choose to give your users the option to borrow audiobooks for 7, 14, or 21 days, but limit their options for ebooks to 7 or 14 days only. This allows your users to choose the lending period that works best for them for each type of content.

Some publishers reserve the right to set a lending period, which will override your library’s preferred settings.

Yes. If all available copies of a title are checked out, users can place that title on hold. Your library determines the number of holds your users can place at a time.

When a title isn’t available to borrow, users will see a Place a hold button instead of a Borrow button. The user will need to sign into your library and provide their email address to place the hold. Once the title is available, the hold will be automatically borrowed for them, and they’ll get an email notification letting them know the title is waiting in their account.

Holds will only expire if you turn off the automatic checkout feature for your library. In that case, the title will be held for a set number of days (determined by your library). If the user doesn’t borrow the title during that period, it will be returned to your library collection or given to the next person in line.

About apps, software, and devices

ON SMARTPHONES, TABLETS, WINDOWS 10, AND CHROMEBOOKS:

We recommend using the Libby app to browse, borrow, and enjoy titles from your OverDrive collection. Libby is designed to be the quickest, easiest way for most users to get started with your digital library.

Those who can’t install Libby on their mobile device can use the original OverDrive app to borrow and enjoy your OverDrive titles. The OverDrive app offers users access to the same digital content from your library, but has slightly different features and broader compatibility than Libby.

ON COMPUTERS, EREADERS, AND MP3 PLAYERS:

PC and Mac users won’t need any special software to enjoy most OverDrive titles. Most titles are available in the OverDrive Read or OverDrive Listen formats, which allow users to read or listen right in their web browser. Streaming videos can also be played right in computer web browsers, without the need for extra software.

If users want to transfer titles from a computer to an ereader or MP3 player, they can use OverDrive’s free desktop app (for audiobooks) or free Adobe Digital Editions software (for ebooks).

ON KINDLES:

Users can wirelessly send ebooks from your OverDrive website, the Libby app, or the OverDrive app to their Kindle.

OverDrive has a lot of options for library users with differing technology needs. Here are examples of devices that work with OverDrive:

  • Tablets (Android, iOS, Windows tablets, Fire tablets)
  • Smartphones (Android, iOS)
  • Chromebooks
  • Windows and Mac computers
  • Kindle devices
  • Other ereaders (NOOK, Kobo, and more)
  • MP3 players

Visit our device profiles to learn more about how OverDrive works with common devices.

Authentication

OverDrive can send authentication requests to your existing integrated library system database via SIP2, EZproxy, or similar protocol. If none of these options are suitable, we can also authenticate your users with an OverDrive-developed tool called User Login Manager.

User Login Manager is an OverDrive-hosted portal that allows your library to upload and manage library card numbers or other user logins for your OverDrive service. User Login Manager is free with your digital library.