Review: Overdrive

So even though I have owned an e-reader for a rather long time now (since the first generation nook). I have avoided using services like Overdrive mostly due to my ignorance. While I knew Overdrive existed I had assumed that my local library would not have any Overdrive offerings since it is one of those small town libraries.

While this certainly may have been true years ago it certainly is not the case anymore. While I was on vacation with my family I read about a service called Hoopla. It provides movies, comic books, and even soundtracks all of which can be borrowed for free. Since it had been a while since I last had a library card (and since my local library did not offer Hoopla as a service) I decided to pick up a virtual library card from a library here in my state.

Since I had a library card that gave me access to both Hoopla and overdrive I figured I would give the service a try. To my pleasure I found that the service was quite easy to use. Once I downloaded the android app to my tablet I had hundreds of books in various formats at my finger tips.


With just my library card and this app I was able to look up a good number of books and borrow them when I wanted. While the books did have return dates it all occurred automatically. Meaning if for some reason I forgot to return it would happen anyways. This of course also meant that I would never be charged any fees or fines for late material (an issue I’ve always had when checking out physical items).

However that particular library while having many books did not necessarily have all the books I wanted. This of course lead me to acquire a few more library cards. Currently I have 5 library cards that give me access to 5 different digital library selections. Some libraries have books I want, others don’t have those same books. Also by having multiple library cards I have found that sometimes if a book is available at multiple libraries there is a better chance it isn’t checked out.

However Overdrive does have a major flaw that is admittedly only noticeable to users who happen to have several library cards. While all the digital libraries are hosted by Overdrive Inc. they are each treated as a separate website. This of course means that searching for books across multiple libraries is far more time-consuming than one would expect. The issue is compounded by the android Overdrive app having a drop down menu that makes it seem like you can easily switch between libraries while maintaining the same page (such as settings, a particular book page, etc). Additional there is no consolidation of bookshelves even if one happens to have an Overdrive user account. This means if you have several items checked out but haven’t yet downloaded the material your device doesn’t know those books are available.

However despite the flaw that exists within the app and the main site for users of multiple libraries, it is still a rather pleasant experience overall.