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Using OverDrive Read

OverDrive Read is our browser-based eBook reader. Reading in a web browser means that you can read eBooks without the need for downloads or special software on a smartphone, tablet, or computer.

Try it now with a sample from Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire by J.K. Rowling.

There’s no need to download or install any new software. OverDrive Read works with the web browser on your phone, tablet, or computer. Learn more about what browsers are compatible with OverDrive Read.

You can sample and read eBooks in OverDrive Read through the OverDrive digital collection for your library or school. You can also visit overdrive.com to find a library near you, sample eBooks, or sign up for an OverDrive account.

Sharing the web address of an eBook you’re reading will provide your friends with a sample of the same book. So, with a text, Tweet, or Facebook post, you can let your friends in on what you’re reading instantly. Keep in mind, only the person who has borrowed the title will be able to read the whole book.

You can also share or embed an eBook from overdrive.com. Simply search for an eBook, click the jacket cover, then select the Share icon in the Readbox to share or embed the eBook sample.

Yes. In the Read menu, you’ll find an option to download the eBook you’re reading to your browser’s cache from the cloud. Once it’s saved, you can read it anytime, even when not connected to the internet. Be sure to bookmark or save the URL so that you can easily return to the eBook later.

If you clear your cache or delete temporary internet files, you will need an internet connection to open and download (or cache) the eBook again.

Please note that some OverDrive Read eBooks (especially graphic-heavy ones) are too large to completely cached (downloaded). So, when you select the download button, you’ll only be able to save part of the book.

Note: Notes, highlighted text, and bookmarks will not be saved if they’re made without an active internet connection.

You can get back to your OverDrive Read eBook from your library Bookshelf or by bookmarking it in your web browser.

Bookmarking the eBook, or adding it to your browser favorites, allows you to easily return to it, which is especially handy if you’ve downloaded it for offline reading.

Yes. OverDrive Read automatically saves your reading progress, bookmarks, notes, and highlights to the cloud. This allows you to return to your reading quickly and continue from where you left off no matter which device or browser you’re using.

Note: Notes, highlighted text, and bookmarks will not be saved if they’re made without an active internet connection.

No. All you need is your library card or student ID (and PIN, if required).

Yes. Many eBooks in OverDrive Read allow you to optimize your experience by adjusting font size, font style, background color, and even the line spacing. See our help page for detailed instructions for adjusting these “readability” settings.

However, “Fixed layout” eBooks (like comic books, picture books, cookbooks, and more) have been designed to more closely resemble printed books, so you cannot adjust the readability settings.

“Fixed layout” eBooks allow a publisher to design the digital pages of an eBook so that they look just like the ones in the print version, with every word and picture in its proper place. This kind of formatting is essential for a lot of graphic-heavy books like textbooks, comic books, children’s books, and more.

While you’ll be able to enjoy most features of OverDrive Read while reading fixed layout eBooks (like notes, highlights, and bookmarks), you won’t be able to adjust font, font size, spacing, or background color.

Some publishers provide OverDrive Read eBooks with a professional narrator that reads the book aloud. When you borrow a narrated title, select the Start narration button at the bottom of the page to begin the audio. Many books will highlight the word, sentence, or paragraph as it’s read, so you can follow along with the text. Visit our help site for more information.

Yes. You can search the text of any OverDrive Read eBook you’ve borrowed. See our help page for detailed instructions.

Yes. You can do all three in an OverDrive Read eBook. For detailed instructions, visit our help page.

Yes. You can return OverDrive Read eBooks at any time as long as you haven’t downloaded the title in another format. If you have, then you may have to use the OverDrive app or Adobe® Digital Editions to return it.

No. OverDrive Read eBooks cannot be printed at this time.

No. OverDrive Read does not currently support the ability to copy text from an eBook and paste it elsewhere.

You can return to your library Bookshelf and choose to read the eBook in a different format. You can find a list of available formats next to each borrowed title on your Bookshelf.

Please note that your reading progress and bookmarks will not be transferred between formats.

OverDrive Read will allow you to read books online and offline on devices with an up-to-date web browser. For more details, see our compatibility page.

Yes. The following Kindle, NOOK, and Kobo tablet devices work with OverDrive Read:

  • Kindle: Fire, Fire HD, and Fire HDX
  • NOOK: HD, HD+, and Galaxy Tab 4 NOOK
  • Kobo: Arc and Arc HD

If you encounter trouble with any of these devices, please be sure to contact us. For more information, please see our OverDrive Read compatibility guide.

Please note that you’ll need to install Chrome for Android to enjoy narrated eBooks in OverDrive Read.

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Libraries & Schools

OverDrive Read is a point-and-click (or tap) reading experience that works with up-to-date web browsers found on computers, tablets, and phones. Users do not need to install extra software or register an Adobe® ID. Simply log into your library or school Bookshelf and start reading immediately in the browser.

Try it now with a sample from Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire by J.K. Rowling.

All your OverDrive services and reading options will continue to work as they do today. We’ve simply added OverDrive Read for an easier and more accessible way for your users to enjoy eBooks on many devices.

OverDrive Read is included with the services you already have, expanding and optimizing your readers’ choices and experiences on almost any device. If you’ve purchased an EPUB eBook that’s also available in OverDrive Read (and most are), then your users will have access to those Read titles automatically.
Note: Fixed layout and narrated eBooks are special formats supported by Read. You can purchase these new Read eBooks separately.

The majority of the EPUB eBooks in your collection can now be viewed with OverDrive Read at no additional cost. Your readers can choose the format they would like to read from the Bookshelf on your digital collection website. They’ll still have the option to download the EPUB.

Note: Fixed layout and narrated eBooks are special formats supported by Read. You can purchase these new Read eBooks separately.

We have several help articles that walk you through Read’s new user interface and its features. Since OverDrive Read requires no software or registration (beyond library cards or school IDs), there’s no need for extensive training materials or for involvement from your network administrator or IT staff.

Generally, you can expect interactive whiteboards to display OverDrive Read as well as it does any webpage.

However, if you experience issues with OverDrive Read on an interactive whiteboard, please check to see that you have the latest drivers provided by the manufacturer installed and try again. If you are still unable to use your interactive whiteboard, please contact us.

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OverDrive utilizes DRM through identity authentication and other industry security standards without exposing the files behind the eBook.

No. OverDrive Read is its own format and cannot generate downloadable EPUB files. Though each eBook is currently sourced from EPUB content, the original EPUB is not linked to an eBook once it reaches OverDrive Read servers (to protect the file).

Visit overdrive.com to see samples of OverDrive Read in action or find a library and borrow an OverDrive Read title from it.

OverDrive Read’s browser-based design and automatic sample generation allow for easy website construction. You can create an instant preview for any promotion by adding the eBook’s URL into your website or by embedding a Readbox (find the title on overdrive.com and select the Share button from its details page).

Share an OverDrive Read sample URL to provide a direct link to a preview of an eBook for social media and email campaigns. Then, users can instantly view part of the title you’re promoting on their desktop, tablet, or mobile device.

You can also embed a Readbox directly into your promotional blog post or website.

OverDrive Read is compatible with EPUB files. Using OverDrive as a distributor of your eBooks will automatically expand your reader base to include this new browser-based reading experience.

OverDrive Read supports fixed layout eBooks and eBooks with embedded audio (like narration).

There’s no size limit for OverDrive Read eBooks. However, we recommend aiming for 5 MB or less for eBooks with reflowable text and 50 MB or less for fixed layout eBooks.

Simply upload your EPUBs to OverDrive just as you have in the past. We will convert them into the OverDrive Read format and make them available in Content Reserve.

If you’re providing a fixed layout eBook, please provide us the title in EPUB 3 Fixed Layout format. Or, if you’re providing an eBook with narration, please be sure to send us the audio in MP3 or M4A format.

If you are not currently an OverDrive partner, you can fill out an application on our website.

No. As long as your content is EPUB compliant, it will be automatically converted to display in OverDrive Read.

There are several free tools available online that will help you discover whether or not your document is already EPUB compatible. Epubcheck is a good place to start. It detects errors in code that could cause trouble in an EPUB file.

Once a problem has been identified with a file, OverDrive will identify the source of the issue. If the file needs to be resupplied, our content team will contact you to request replacement source.

For compatibility reasons, we require that you send audio files in MP3 or M4A format. We recommend MP3 for the highest level of compatibility. These files are most easily processed by and played in many browsers OverDrive Read supports.

OverDrive Read requires user authentication with an email address and password (or library card and PIN) before a user can access protected content. Once a user is positively identified, OverDrive Read’s DRM uses time-sensitive contextual locks to verify that all content requests originate from the authenticated client.

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Retailers & OEMs

OverDrive Read is a great way to enjoy eBooks the without having to download software or applications outside of a compatible web browser. Reading in your browser also means that you can read your eBooks on a smartphone, tablet, or computer.

Try it now with a sample from Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire by J.K. Rowling.

You can sell OverDrive Read titles through the same services OverDrive uses for distribution and sales of downloadable EPUB files and audiobooks.

OverDrive Read can be seen in digital library and school collections across the world. Visit overdrive.com to view samples of OverDrive Read eBooks or find a library that has OverDrive Read eBooks in their collection.

Share an OverDrive Read sample URL to provide social media and email campaigns with a direct link to an eBook sample. Then, users can instantly view part of the title you’re promoting on their desktop, tablet, or mobile device.

You can also embed an OverDrive Read sample into your promotion blog post, email, or website.

Titles in the OverDrive Read format are automatically provided with a sample, allowing buyers the opportunity to preview their purchase. You can share a sample using the URL for the full copy of an OverDrive Read eBook. Only authorized customers would be able to read the full title.

OverDrive Read is a brandable solution for reading eBooks. Your particular brand and messaging can be added to your own customized version of OverDrive Read.

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Disclaimer: OverDrive is not affiliated with any software or hardware vendors mentioned herein. For technical support with any third-party products, please contact the vendor directly.

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