In our last post, we discussed the importance of reading, as well as how eBooks and audiobooks can help you sneak in time to get a lot more reading done every day. We also briefly discussed a fantastic service called OverDrive.

OverDrive is offered through a partnership with thousands of libraries in the US. This resource offers you access to an incredible library of titles, including thousands of eBooks and audiobooks. Best of all, you don’t have to shell out cash to take advantage of this service; OverDrive is totally free to use!

Today, we’re going to explore the OverDrive app. We’ll examine what the service does, and how you can use it to access your own library from any mobile device.

What is OverDrive?

According to the description listed on the app’s official site:

OverDrive is a free service offered by your library or school that lets you borrow digital content (like ebooks and audiobooks) anytime, anywhere. Every OverDrive collection is slightly different because each library or school picks the digital content they want for their users. All you need to get started with free digital content from your library or school is a library card or student ID.

All the school and public library systems throughout the US have a collection of books in their possession. OverDrive is essentially a digital version of that collection. So, rather than going to the library to check out a physical copy of a book, you can simply login from anywhere, borrow a digital copy, then return it when you’re done.

OverDrive is compatible with Apple and Android devices. The app also works with many eReaders, including select Kindle, Nook, and Kobo models, and even some mp3 players as well.

Advantages &  Disadvantages of the OverDrive App
+ Free service: all you need is your library card (also free).  – Wait lists: you may have to wait if another member already checked out the title for which you’re looking.
+ Multiple formats: offers eBooks and audiobooks, plus select publications like magazines and newspapers.  – Selection may be limited: you can only check out titles from the collection owned by your local library.
+ Easy-to-use: The app’s simple interface makes it easy to find what you’re looking for.  
+ Download & store: Instead of wasting data, the app lets you download files to your device to enjoy on-the-go.
+ Acccess anywhere: even if you’re away, you can still access your library’s content.  
+ Get recommendations: keep tabs on new releases & see what’s trending.

Access Your Library, Anywhere & Anytime

Setting up an account on OverDrive takes seconds. You may first need to create an account using your email address. But, o nce you enter your library card information, you can start browsing the collection at your local library.

You can also access the collection of any library system of which you’re a member, even if you’re not in the immediate area. For example, let’s say you live for part of the year in New York, but live in Florida for the rest your time. As long as you’re a member of the New York Public Library, you can check out anything from their digital collection, even when you’re thousands of miles away!

On a summer trip outside the country? OverDrive lets you check out and download reading material without hassle.

The app is very simple to navigate once you’re logged in. You select the library you wish to access, then search for a title. As shown below, you may either bookmark the title for later, or click “Borrow” to check the title out now.

OverDrive app interface

Unlike paid services, though, your library is limited to the number of copies per title they can allow to be checked out at once. Just like at the physical library, if someone else checks out a book you want, you may need to wait for it.

Once you check a title out, it will automatically be returned for you once your timeframe runs out. Not to worry, though, if you didn’t finish in time; you can simply log back in and check the title out again. If there are other readers on the wait list, you may be unable to get the book right away. However, you have unlimited opportunities to check each item out.

Open the Door to Your Personal Library

OverDrive is an incredibly-useful service. It presents the opportunity to take advantage of your local library at your convenience, and to absorb knowledge in whatever format is best for you.

Prefer to read a digital copy via eBook? You can do that. Or, maybe you’d rather listen to an audio version while you do other activities? That’s an option, too. Plus, there’s always the physical library branches, which allow you to walk in, browse, and discover new titles you may not have found otherwise.

Remember: OverDrive is a free service included along with your library membership (which is also free in most localities, by the way). Go ahead and download the app in the Google Play store or Apple App Store, and open yourself up to an incredible new resource for readers.