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Get Started with OverDrive: OverDrive Read

A Beginning User's Guide to our Overdrive download service.

Overdrive Read

OverDrive Read is a browser-based eBook reader that works on most tablets, phones, and computers running web browsers with HTML5 support.

OverDrive Read has many of the same features as popular reading apps and eBook readers, like the ability to add bookmarks, search for terms, add notes and highlights, look up words, and change the font. It also offers some extra ones like fixed layout support for graphic-heavy eBooks and professional narration for some titles.

As long as you have an active internet connection, you can return to an OverDrive Read eBook at any time during your lending period and your place, bookmarks, notes, and highlights will be saved in case you ever borrow it again.


Will OverDrive Read work on my device?

If you're not sure whether or not your device is supported, you can test it using the sample below. Just click or tap the jacket cover.

Click here for OverDrive Read sample

For the best reading experience, we recommend using an up-to-date browser, like one of these:

  • Chrome
  • Firefox
  • Safari
  • Internet Explorer 10 or better

OverDrive Read compatible devices

Note: This is not a complete list. If you do not see your device here, you can use this sample of Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire to test your browser.

  • Android v2.3+ (best with Chrome) 
    Example: Samsung Galaxy and Google Nexus devices
  • iOS v6.0+ 
    Example: iPad 2 or newer
  • Kindle Fire HD and HDX
  • Kobo Arc and Arc HD (best with Chrome)
  • Linux (best with Chrome) 
    Example: Ubuntu and Fedora
  • Mac OSX (best with Chrome)
  • Windows XP, Vista, 7, and 8 (best with Chrome)

What's new for OverDrive Read

OverDrive Read is a web app, which means you can open it from your web browser on a tablet, smartphone, or computer. It also means that, when we update OverDrive Read, every user everywhere gets the update. So, you'll always be using the latest version of OverDrive Read.

OverDrive Read's new look and features

We recently added support for fixed layout eBooks and  narration, which means a new look and feel for OverDrive Read. Here's what it looks like:

Screenshot showing an OverDrive Read eBook

What you get with the new Read

We did a lot of behind the scenes work to make pages load faster, added a two-page layout, and updated the progress slider and menus. There is also a zoom feature for fixed layout eBooks to help you see the smallest images and text with ease.

There's also a new toggle that will let you switch between a one or two-page layout when you're reading on larger screens. You'll find it at the bottom of an open eBook.


How to start using OverDrive read

Once you borrow an eBook from your library's OverDrive-powered website, click or tap the Read button on your Bookshelf to begin reading it immediately using OverDrive Read.

Screenshot of the Read button for a borrowed eBook

read OverDrive Read eBooks offline

You can download (cache) an OverDrive Read eBook on your computer or device so you can read it later offline (without an internet connection) using your web browser.

Downloading OverDrive Read eBooks

Open the Read menu on larger screens by selecting the Menu button at the top of the screen.

Read menu button on a larger screen

Or, on smaller devices (like smartphones), tap the middle of the screen, then the Menu icon.

Read menu icon on a smaller screen

Select the cloud icon under the "Download" section to save the book for offline reading.

Note: Not all browsers are compatible with offline reading mode.

Download section in the OverDrive Read menu

Once you click the cloud, the book you're reading is saved to your browser's cache. Please note that if you clear the cache, you'll also clear any books you've downloaded through OverDrive Read. There is no download limit on these eBooks, however, so you can download them again whenever you need to during the lending period.

If you need to save some space on your device, click the cloud, then the X twice to clear a book from your browser cache.

Screenshot showing the clear download option

Before you go offline, make sure to save the URL for the OverDrive Read eBook you downloaded (we recommend bookmarking it in your browser). Then, once you're offline, you'll need to open your web browser and go to the URL of the OverDrive Read eBook (or, just open your browser bookmark) to keep reading it. This can be done without an internet connection.