Frequently asked questions about OverDrive

OverDrive offers downloadable audiobooks and e-books.

  1. What is needed in order to download an OverDrive title?
  2. How do I check out an item?
  3. How many titles can I check out?
  4. How long do I keep titles?
  5. Can I return an item early?
  6. I want a title that is checked out. What do I do?
  7. What happens when I place an item on hold?
  8. What happens if I miss the 72-hour hold time?
  9. How many items can I have on hold on at one time?
  10. How do I cancel a hold?
  11. What can I do on a library computer?
  12. How do I download?
  13. What is OverDrive READ? How do I read an ebook in my browser?
  14. How do I return items?
  15. How does digital media work?
  16. What software is needed for digital media?
  17. How do I upgrade my Windows Media Player if I’m having problems?
  18. How do I listen to an item after I've downloaded it?
  19. How do I go back and download the other parts?
  20. What happens to an item when I've finished it?
  21. What if my question isn't listed here?

1. What is needed in order to download an OverDrive title?

  • A valid library card and PIN (password).
  • Access to the Internet.
  • Depending on the format you choose, you may need free software for the device or computer on which you wish to use your OverDrive items.
  • A valid email address so you can be notified when your titles are available for download.
  • Certain players and devices may have special requirements to play the downloaded content correctly. Go here for a list of compatible devices. Please note that your device may need firmware, operating system, or software updates to be fully compatible. For detailed information and troubleshooting, please see the FAQ section for the format you want to download on the OverDrive help pages.

2. How do I check out an item?

Browse the collection or the featured lists from the OverDrive homepage. (You can also find titles in the library's catalog that will directly link you into OverDrive. The catalog will not indicate availability status.) The OverDrive homepage is frequently updated with changing featured titles. You can do a quick search using the Search box at the top of the page or choose Advanced Search to limit to certain formats, subjects or availability.

Clicking on a book’s cover will access the item record, giving you more information and the ability to borrow the title. Click on “Borrow” to begin check out, or click "Place a Hold" to access the waiting list. If you are not already logged in, it will prompt you to do so at this time. Once an title has been borrowed, you can either download to a particular device or read it directly in the browser (when available). Use the back button on your browser to continue browsing.

3. How many titles can I check out?

You can have ten OverDrive titles checked out at any time— ten total including all formats.

4. How long do I keep titles?

Patrons can set their own default lending period on a format-by-format basis. Sign into your Account and choose Settings to change your default lending options. If you do not set any lending period, the system-wide default for all formats will continue to be 7 days. You have the options to set defaults for 7, 14 or 21 days.

Additionally, when you are logged in with your library card, you can select a lending period on a title-by-title basis before you borrow the item, unless you are using the mobile version of OverDrive.

5. Can I return an item early?

Yes. Find out how.

6. I want a title that is checked out. What do I do?

You may place a hold on any title. Within an item’s record you can see the number of “Available Copies” and the number of “Library Copies.” If there are no copies available, the “Borrow” button is replaced by “Place a Hold.” You will need an email address to be notified that the hold is ready.

7. What happens when I place an item on hold?

The title you put on hold will be reserved for you once it becomes available. When it is available, you will get an email with instructions to check the item out. The item will be held for 72 hours from the time of your email notification. If you do not check it out within 72 hours, it will become available for the next person in the hold queue.

8. What happens if I miss the 72-hour hold time?

You may check out the item if it is available or place another hold.

9. How many items can I have on hold at one time?

You can have ten items on hold at one time.

10. How do I cancel a hold?

  • From any page, choose the 'My Account' button.
  • Log in to your account.
  • Click the 'Holds' link.
  • Click the 'Remove' button next to the title.

11. What can I do on a library computer?

On a library Internet computer you can search, borrow items or place an item on hold, and read titles that are available in the OverDrive READ format (using the Firefox browser).

12. How do I download?

"Borrowing" and "Downloading" are two separate actions. The check out begins when you “borrow,” not when you start downloading. Before you download the first item, you need to download OverDrive Media Console for audiobooks or Adobe Digital Editions for e-books. There are links to download both the OverDrive Media Console and Adobe Digital Editions on the OverDrive Software Download page.

  1. After you’ve borrowed the item, you have the option to 'download.' in the formats available to you. Follow the prompts to download to your device.
  2. Audiobook titles are split into parts. You can download all parts or just a few, and come back for more.
  3. Select the parts you desire, and click 'OK' to start the download. Once the download is complete, you can close your Internet connection and access the file offline.

13. What is OverDrive READ? How do I read an ebook in my browser?

If an ebook title is available in the OverDrive READ format, and you are using a device that has a compatible web browser, you can simply click the "read" button after you borrow an item and read it in your browser. From inside the book, click or tap the bookmark icon in the upper-left to save your position (this will be saved across multiple devices). To read offline in your browser, just add the title to your favorites or bookmark it in your browser. More information can be found on OverDrive’s How to use OverDrive READ page and the OverDrive READ FAQ.

14. How do I return items?

For the majority of titles, at the end of the loan period the title expires and is automatically returned to the library. You can then delete the expired file from your device.

With most devices, you can also return an item early. See OverDrive’s Help page, and type in “return” plus your device’s name into the search box for more information.

15. How does digital media work?

A 'digital title' is a digital version of an audiobook, music or eBook file that is rights-protected and optimized for download.

Each digital download consists of two parts: the content and the “wrapper.” The content is the actual form of read text, sound file, video file, or PDF file.

The “wrapper” is data that includes the expiration date and other pieces of metadata. The wrapper is part of the “digital rights management” (DRM) software that lets publishers feel confident about the entire technology. The wrapper is like a key and keeps track of the date, and is deleted at the end of the lending period. Without a wrapper you can’t access a file on the OverDrive Media Console.

The content isn’t automatically deleted—it stays on your computer/device but can’t be listened to, unless you check the item out again and get a new “wrapper.”

16. What software is needed for digital media?

If you want to listen to audiobooks on your computer or transfer them to an audio player, you will need the OverDrive Media Console for Mac or PCs.
If you want to read e-books on your computer or transfer them to your e-reader, you will need Adobe Digital Editions (unless the e-book is available in the OverDrive READ format).
If you want to listen to audiobooks or read e-books on your mobile device, you will need to download the app for your mobile device (unless the e-book is available in the OverDrive READ format). Not all mobile operating systems allow you to read e-books. Make sure you are running the current operating system and have updated the OverDrive app.

17. How do I upgrade my Windows Media Player if I'm having problems?

Make sure that the OverDrive Media Console is allowed to access the internet through your firewall.

Sometimes, the upgrade needs to be initiated manually; go to (in Internet Explorer only): http://drmlicense.one.microsoft.com/Indivsite. Depending on your settings, your browser may prompt you to run an Active X component. You'll need to allow it to run to be able to complete the upgrade.

If these don't work, OverDrive suggests that you may need to reset the DRM folder. These instructions may vary slightly by operating system:

  1. Open the 'Control Panel'.
  2. Open 'Folder Options' and select the 'View' tab.
  3. Select 'Show hidden files and folders'.
  4. Uncheck 'Hide protected operating system files'.
  5. In the warning message you receive, click 'Yes'.
  6. Click 'OK'.
  7. Close the Control Panel
  8. Rename the DRM folder to DRM.old. (You can find the folder most often under C:\Documents and Settings\All Users\ DRM)
  9. Close this window and open OverDrive Media Console.
  10. Go to Tools > Windows Media Player Security Upgrade to try the upgrade again.

18. How do I listen to an item after I've downloaded it?

To listen to a file, open OverDrive Media Console and double click the title.

19. How do I go back and download the other parts?

Log in to 'Account' on the OverDrive homepage. Go to 'Bookshelf' and continue to download as before.

20. What happens to an item when I've finished it?

With many devices you can return items early (see How do I return items? above), or they will automatically expire at the end of their loan period. However, the content of a downloaded item stays on your computer, even after it has expired or been returned, until you manually delete the digital file.

21. What if my question isn't listed here?

Contact Us in person, on the phone, or online.

OverDrive also has an extensive help page, and you can contact them directly from this contact form.

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