Where do OverDrive audiobooks go?

What is OverDrive?

OverDrive is a digital content platform that provides access to ebooks, audiobooks, magazines, and more from public libraries and schools (OverDrive, 2022). It was founded in 1986 and works by partnering with libraries and publishers to make content available for lending to library members. OverDrive currently works with over 75,000 libraries, schools, and colleges worldwide.

Library members can use the OverDrive website or mobile apps like Libby to browse, checkout, and download digital content from their library’s OverDrive collection. Everything is free as long as you have a valid library card. Once downloaded, OverDrive audiobooks can be listened to online or offline through the apps. The lending period is usually around 2 weeks, after which the title will automatically expire and be returned to the library.

Compatibility with Devices/Apps

OverDrive audiobooks can be played on a variety of devices and apps, giving you flexibility in how you listen. The main options for playing OverDrive audiobooks are:

  • OverDrive App – This free app allows you to download and listen to OverDrive audiobooks on iOS, Android, and Windows devices. It has features like bookmarks and variable playback speed. Learn more about compatible devices.
  • Browser – You can stream OverDrive audiobooks using the OverDrive Listen browser player. It works on computers and mobile devices with compatible web browsers. See compatible browsers.
  • MP3 Player – If you download OverDrive audiobooks as MP3 files, you can transfer them to MP3 players like iPods.
  • Kindle – Send OverDrive audiobooks to your Kindle Fire tablet or e-reader to listen using Bluetooth headphones or speakers.
  • Apple Devices – Listen using the Apple Books app on iOS devices or sync audiobooks to your iPod.

Most smartphones, tablets, computers, and MP3 players should be compatible. Check your device manufacturer’s app store for the OverDrive app or use the OverDrive Listen browser player. OverDrive also provides device profiles summarizing compatibility.

Getting Started with OverDrive

To get started using OverDrive, first visit the OverDrive website or download the Libby app to your device. You’ll need to find and select your local library or school in order to access their collection of ebooks and audiobooks. The easiest way is to allow your device to detect your location and suggest nearby libraries, or you can search by city and state. Once you’ve selected your library, you will log in with your library card number and PIN/password. If you don’t already have one, you can sign up for a free library card on their website.

After logging in, you will be able to browse your library’s full OverDrive catalog. You can search for specific titles, authors, subjects, and more. OverDrive allows you to borrow ebooks and audiobooks just like physical library books – they are checked out to you for a certain lending period, usually around 2 weeks, and are automatically returned so there are no late fees. All you need to get started is a library card!

Checking Out and Downloading

Checking out and downloading an audiobook from OverDrive is a straightforward process. First, you’ll need to browse or search for a title on the OverDrive website or in the OverDrive app. When you find a title you want, make sure it is available by checking if the “Borrow” button is enabled. Then, click “Borrow” and sign into your library if prompted.

Once the title is checked out to you, select “Download” and choose a format like MP3. The download will begin immediately in your browser or the app. According to OverDrive’s help documentation, you can pause and resume downloads as needed. The download parts will save to the OverDrive app bookshelf or your selected destination.

Downloaded audiobook files can then be transferred or listened to directly in the OverDrive app. If you need to move an audiobook to a different device, OverDrive provides instructions for transferring and burning audiobooks. Overall, checking out OverDrive titles and downloading for offline use is designed to be simple and intuitive across the website, apps, and supported devices.

OverDrive App Features

The OverDrive app has many useful features that enhance the audiobook listening experience. According to OverDrive’s website Apps & Features: Library, some key features include:

Streaming – Listen to audiobooks right in the app without downloading them first. This allows you to start listening immediately. Streaming uses less storage space on your device.

Bookmarks – Easily bookmark your place in an audiobook so you can pick up right where you left off. Bookmarks sync across devices.

Playback speed – Listen at speeds slower or faster than normal. This allows you to customize the pace based on your preference.

Sleep timer – Set a sleep timer to automatically stop audio playback after a set amount of time. Helpful for listening as you fall asleep.

Navigation – Navigate easily through chapters and sections of audiobooks using the app’s controls.

Compatibility – Listen across various devices like smartphones, tablets, computers, and some cars. Your bookmarks and listening progress sync across compatible apps.

Listening Options

OverDrive offers flexible listening options for audiobooks. You can listen online through OverDrive Listen, download to the OverDrive app for offline listening, or transfer to supported devices and apps.

With OverDrive Listen, you can stream audiobooks directly in your browser with an internet connection. Listening progress and bookmarks sync across devices when you’re logged into your OverDrive account. OverDrive Listen works on desktop and mobile browsers.

For offline listening, you can download OverDrive audiobooks via the OverDrive app. Downloads are available in MP3 format. The app lets you manage your downloads, playback speed, bookmarks, and more. OverDrive has apps for Android, iOS, and Kindle Fire.

On mobile, you can also transfer OverDrive audiobooks to supported apps like Apple Books on iOS devices for listening on the go without an internet connection. On Android, audiobooks can be played in apps like Google Play Books.

So whether you prefer streaming, downloading, or transferring to another app, OverDrive accommodates online and offline audiobook listening across devices.

Returning/Deleting Audiobooks

Once you have finished listening to an OverDrive audiobook, you will want to return it so that it becomes available for other users. OverDrive allows you to return titles early if you have finished with them before the lending period expires. Here’s how to return audiobooks on various devices and apps:

On the OverDrive app for Android or iOS, open your Bookshelf and press and hold on the audiobook you want to return. Select “Return” and then “Return” again to confirm. The title will be immediately removed from your Bookshelf and lending list.

In OverDrive for Windows desktop, right click the title and select “Return/Delete.” Click “Return/Delete” again in the confirmation window. [1]

On Mac desktop, swipe down on the audiobook in your Bookshelf to bring up the menu. Click “Return/Delete” and confirm to return the book. [2]

If an audiobook lending period expires, it will automatically be removed from your OverDrive library and lending list. However, the expired download may still take up storage space on your device. You can manually delete these expired titles by finding them in your app and selecting “Delete.” This will free up device storage being used by the expired book.

Returning titles early is recommended so that other users can access them. It also helps ensure you don’t end up with lots of expired downloads taking up storage space. OverDrive makes it easy to return and delete audiobooks when you are finished with them.

Availability of Titles

OverDrive has an extensive catalog of audiobook titles available, with over 1 million ebooks, audiobooks, magazines and more from public libraries worldwide https://www.overdrive.com/. However, availability of specific titles can vary by library branch and geographical region. The selection focuses primarily on popular and bestselling titles across different genres like fiction, non-fiction, romance, mystery, sci-fi, and more.

High demand and newly released titles often have waitlists. You can place holds on titles that are checked out to get in line. The wait time depends on the popularity of the book and how many copies your library has. Generally, new releases have the longest wait times while older titles are readily available without waiting. Overdrive uses digital lending to allow libraries to purchase a set number of digital copies, so availability works just like physical book copies would.

You can browse OverDrive’s full online collection without logging in to get a sense of what audiobooks are available. Focus your search on your library’s catalog once logged in to see only titles currently available to borrow. You may discover expanded availability if you have cards at multiple library systems. Overall, OverDrive offers an extensive catalog, but specific title availability depends on lending licenses and demand.

Tips for Finding Audiobooks

The OverDrive catalog contains thousands of audiobook titles, so finding books you’ll enjoy can feel overwhelming. Here are some tips for efficiently searching and filtering to find the perfect audiobooks:

Use the search bar to look for specific titles, authors, subjects, or keywords. You can filter further by format, date added, and availability.

Browse featured categories like “Most Popular” audiobooks this week or “Newly Added” titles. These sections showcase trending and recently added audiobooks.

Filter by subject, genre, target audience, or language to narrow options. OverDrive has over 20 categories to choose from.

See personalized recommendations on the homepage based on your previous loans and holds. The “Because You Liked…” sections suggest audiobooks similar to what you’ve enjoyed before.

Follow and get notifications about favorite authors to know when new releases from them become available.

Use the “Advanced Search” to combine multiple filters like language, audience, subject, format, and date added to precisely tailor options.

Browse award-winners and bestsellers for popular and critically-acclaimed titles.

Check the “Now Available” sort to instantly see newly added audiobooks ready to borrow.

See which titles are “Trending Now” based on current borrowing patterns.

OverDrive Alternatives

There are several other services that offer digital audiobooks similar to OverDrive. Some popular alternatives include:

Hoopla (https://www.hoopladigital.com/) – Hoopla allows you to borrow audiobooks and ebooks from your local library. Titles can be streamed immediately without waiting. Check their website for availability at your library.

Libby (https://meet.libbyapp.com/) – Libby is the new app from OverDrive that makes accessing digital audiobooks and ebooks easier. It has a simplified, user-friendly interface compared to the original OverDrive app.

cloudLibrary (https://www.yourcloudlibrary.com/) – cloudLibrary is another service that partners with local libraries to lend audiobooks and ebooks digitally. Their app allows downloading titles for offline use.

LibriVox (https://librivox.org/) – LibriVox offers free public domain audiobooks read by volunteers. The selection consists mainly of classic literature no longer under copyright.

These services provide similar digital audiobook access as OverDrive, often through public libraries. Check their sites to see if your library participates and to browse their catalog options.

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