Explore this post for helpful Overdrive hints!


Site Basics

*Don’t forget to log-in to the OverDrive site before searching for your items so that you have access to the full selection of material, including the extra copies of popular items purchased exclusively for our branches!

*The advanced search in OverDrive is the quickest way to get to what you need. Just like in the quick search, you can opt to see only titles that are currently available, but you can also select the exact format you need (audiobook vs. eBook, WMA vs. MP3, Adobe EPUB vs. Kindle). Getting this out of the way early will make for a less confusing results list, and will help eliminate file errors that occur when the incorrect version of an item is downloaded.


The “Next Generation Experience” movie is a great way to start out with general information, but the “Overdrive Help” (located right below it on the help page) has instructions tailored to each individual device. It is likely the question you are trying to field has been asked before, and you can search for it in the most popular articles or recent searches. One thing that I was very excited to discover was the selection of instructional videos for a number of devices. The “Videos” link in the menu bar to the left from within “OverDrive Help” provides individual videos with instructions on how to accomplish a variety of tasks on each of these devices:

iPhone, iPad, iPod Touch




Sony Reader Wi-Fi



Windows phone

Plus, they don’t just stop at how to download a book; they give detailed information on how to transfer titles, how to find them on your device, and how to return items when you are finished.

Some more helpful facts:


*For first and second generation Kindles, the transaction must be completed on a computer because the Kindle interface does not allow for multiple tabs to be open at once. Also, even though these Kindles might have a 3G wireless connection, that doesn’t necessarily mean that books can be downloaded wirelessly. A USB cord might still need to be used.

*With the Kindle Fire, the whole process can be done from the Kindle itself- no computer needed.

*Books from Penguin Publishing must be downloaded via USB cord. This means that folks with a Kindle Fire will not be able to download them unless they are able to get a USB cord from somewhere.

*If you are having trouble accessing the Internet on the Kindle Fire, make sure that “Accelerated Page Loading” is turned off.

* If the downloaded title does not appear right away, try syncing the Kindle. Click the circular icon next to the Wi-Fi icon and a menu bar will appear. Sync is one of the options, and this will refresh the screen.

Adobe Digital Editions Devices

*Java Script must be enabled

*Activating anonymously means that the book can be viewed on only one device

* Activating with an Adobe ID allows the item to be viewed on up to 6 devices. An Adobe ID is needed only for eBooks, not audiobooks.

*“Error retrieving license” might mean that the computer’s firewall settings need to be adjusted


*WMA files cannot be downloaded to Apple devices unless the Windows operating system is simulated on that machine. To get a WMA file to work on an iPod, it must first be downloaded to a Windows machine and then transferred.

*WMA files will also not work on Kindles or (surprisingly) Windows phones

*MP3 files will work on *most* devices


Project Gutenberg is another resource for finding free books and audiobooks, and it’s definitely worth checking out as a supplement to OverDrive. It contains books that are now in the public domain, so it won’t have the popular new releases, but it’s great for classics and books in foreign languages. (Check out the “Recently Added” link at the top of the homepage to access the lists of languages offered.)



Category: Library

Leave a Reply