Tuesday, April 15, 2014

Overdrive App & Library Access: How-To

There is a major resource seniors and many other people just don't realize is out there and ready for free use.  This is the Overdrive app which lets you use any public library's digital materials as long as you have a card. Most libraries now give you cards whether or not you are in their geographic areas. I have cards for three public libraries in northeastern Ohio and each of those three has many member libraries. They have put their digital titles on Overdrive for lending.  I am going to take you through some crucial steps for this and also send you to some resources for help installing Overdrive. Your best starting resource is to go to the Overdrive website and read the main page. That main page is here.

I have put Rebecca onto Overdrive on her iPhone.  I have all of my mobile devices and my Mac Air equipped with it. The number 1 reason users fail to install Overdrive successfully is that they do not understand the need for an Adobe ID.  This is worth explaining as once you understand how this works it will no longer seem a bewildering part of the process.

Your public libraries purchase rights to use digital media from publishers and other entities. These are not unlimited amounts of copies for unlimited use. The libraries pay per use of those licensed titles and thus there must be a mechanism in place for controlling the management and use of digital rights technology.


This is where Adobe comes into play. Adobe developed right from the get go of the internet publishing formats which could be universally read by computers and then mobile devices. The first of these was known as PDF and the adobe software known as Acrobat Reader was used to read it and interact with it. Later Adobe developed the ePub format. ePub has been hugely adopted by fiction publishers and non fiction which is heavy on text. PDF still remains better for highly pictorial books. Overdrive will also download to the Kindle App if you have also downloaded that app to your computer or mobile device.

It was logical that Adobe would remain the key to locking up Digital Rights Management Technology with libraries. So Adobe remains the key to the kingdom of public library use with Overdrive. Thus, first you get your library card. Then you download the Overdrive App. Third, to get the Overdrive App to work on anything, you must enter your adobe user name and password onto the settings of the Overdrive App. If you skip this step, nothing will work. You get your adobe ID by going here and setting up a user name and password. This is free and you do not give adobe any financial info to set it up.

Then you find a public library for which you have a card to use on Overdrive. You search for it on Overdrive, select it and to go your account at that library. You will be prompted to enter your library card number. Some libraries will also require you to set up a PIN. This is not the same thing as your adobe digital ID. They are completely different things! Check the box which asks if you want it to remember your password and/or PIN. You do!


Your library also has an Overdrive Media Station if you would prefer getting started that way. You can also gain the assistance of a librarian by going this route. The photo to the left shows what your library's overdrive media station looks like. You will be able to select items to take out and send those items to your computer, iPad or other device while you are in the library.

The best way of learning how to use Overdrive if you are still having problems is to go to its own Help pages which have videos and tutorials. These are specific for your exact computer platform or mobile device. That is located here.

You get your Overdrive app at the App Store or iTunes Store for Apple computers and mobile devices. For Windows and Android Systems plus Kindle Devices you go to the Google Play Store or Amazon's Android App store. The Overdrive app is free.

Overdrive keeps adding media.  When I started using it only ebooks and audiobooks were available. Movies and tv shows have since been added with music coming soon.  There are no fines used by Overdrive. When a title expires, it simply ceases working in the app. Thus items are always returned on time.

I made some image captures of my Overdrive app on my iPad which should help get you started.

Like every app, Overdrive has its settings. This is where you manage your Adobe ID. If you have done it correctly, your authorization will show, like mine does here.

After you touch Account, the page switches to where you enter your library password which is your card number. Some libraries also require you to set a PIN number at the time you get your card.  You enter a PIN number here as well too.

The titles you've selected are ready for download. You get to choose from two formats, Kindle and ePub. They will download ePub into the Overdrive app and the Kindle book into the Kindle app. You will read the books in the respective app. Some ebooks only come in one format.

Here is one of the books I downloaded. I have taken it to the first page of the story and placed a bookmark there. You can adjust the fonts and screen to suit your needs. I have visual needs so need to adjust the screen and fonts from the default.

If you have any questions, please ask them in the comment box below or use the contact me box at the bottom of the page.



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