Public Libraries FAQs


Your OverDrive digital library is a custom website that gives library users 24/7 access to your digital collection of ebooks, audiobooks, streaming videos, and periodicals (Please note: Libraries will be able to add periodicals at a later date). Each library builds their individual library collection from our catalog of more than 3.3 million titles from over 5,000 publishers. Once your website is live, users will browse your digital collection, borrow titles, and enjoy them 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 library staff to track their digital collections.

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

  • Live webinars and webcasts, presented by OverDrive’s training team, to familiarize your library staff with OverDrive and your digital collection.
  • Archived webinars about your digital library website, the OverDrive app, and OverDrive Marketplace.
  • 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.
  • A help website with getting started guides, troubleshooting tips, and how-to articles for library staff and users.

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

About library collections

OverDrive offers a growing catalog of more than 2.6 million digital titles from over 5,000 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, subject, and more, using the extensive search options in OverDrive Marketplace.

No, library users will only have access to the content for libraries they belong to. OverDrive allows your library to create its own custom digital collection. Your team will be able to browse OverDrive’s extensive catalog of eBooks, audiobooks and videos, 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 have the opportunity to recommend titles 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 on the shelf. 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 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 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.

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.

Lending digital titles

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

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

Most titles can be returned early through the OverDrive app, Adobe Digital Editions, or your library 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 user can borrow it again as soon as their original lending period ends (if there aren’t existing holds on the title).

Your library can choose the lending period for each type of content in your collection (eBooks, audiobooks, and videos). For eBooks and audiobooks, 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 give your users the option to borrow audiobooks for 7, 14, or 21 days but limit their options for eBooks to 7 or 14 only. This allows your library 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 that a user can place at a time.

When a title is unavailable to borrow, a user will see a Place a hold button instead of the Borrow button. The user will need to log into your library’s website, then enter their email address for the hold. Once the title becomes available, the user will receive an email with instructions for checkout or informing them the title has been automatically borrowed for them. Automatic checkout is an optional feature on your library website.

If it’s not automatically checked out, the title will be held for them for a set number of days (determined by your library). If the user doesn’t borrow the item during that period of time, the title will be returned to your library collection or given to the next person in line.

About software, devices, and features

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

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

If library users want to download ebooks in the Kindle Book format (U.S. only), they’ll need the free Kindle reading app.

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)
  • 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, library users can add bookmarks any ebook or audiobook. If you’re using OverDrive Read or OverDrive Listen (our browser-based reader and player), you’ll also be able to add notes to borrowed eBooks and audiobooks.

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 your existing integrated library system database via SIP2, EZproxy, or similar protocol. If none of these options are suitable, we can also authenticate your patrons with an OverDrive-developed tool called Library Card Manager.

Library Card Manager is an OverDrive-powered authentication system that allows your library to upload a list of library card numbers. Library Card Manager is free with your digital library.