OverDrive Read allows you to read books in your web browser. This FAQ contains information for readers, publishers and libraries about how this works (and why it’s so convenient and easy).
To find out whether your smart phone, tablet, laptop or desktop computer is compatible with OverDrive Read, use our compatibility guide.
What is OverDrive Read?
OverDrive Read is a new way of reading eBooks from your web browser. Reading in a web browser means that you can enjoy eBooks without the need for downloads or special software on a smartphone, tablet, or computer.
Can I borrow eBooks now with OverDrive Read?
Just borrow an OverDrive eBook from your library and you’ll be able to read it in your web browser straight away. If you forget to bookmark the link, you can always return to your library bookshelf to access it again.
OverDrive Read won’t change the the way our existing services work. We’re just adding to what we offer to expand your options and increase usability across the board. OverDrive Read titles will automatically be added to library collections.
Why read an eBook in a web browser?
Your eBooks are stored in the cloud, which means you can read across a number of different devices and your eBooks will sync so that you don’t lose your place. Modern web browsers will save the books in the browser cache, so you can read even when you’re not connected to the internet.
What is a web browser, again?
Your web browser is the software you use to browse and search the internet – the most popular browsers are Internet Explorer, Google Chrome, Firefox and Safari on the desktop, and Safari (on iOS devices) and Chrome on mobile devices.
Web browsers are almost always free and easy to download and install, and for security and compatibility reasons it’s worth making sure your web browser is up to date.
Can I read my eBook if I’m not connected to the internet?
When eBooks are first opened up in a web browser they cache – or save – for offline access.
If there are eBooks you think you might want to read offline we recommend you favourite or bookmark them in your web browser when you first open them up. If you’re using an iPhone, iPad or iPod Touch, you can add them to your home screen as web-apps.
Which devices are compatible with OverDrive Read?
Any device with a modern web browser. The latest versions of all major web browsers support the full range of features required for full use of OverDrive Read, including offline support.
Some devices (such as Sony e-readers and Kindle Keyboards) are not ideal as their browsers are too basic. The best way to test if your device is compatible is to try it out with a free sample book.
Can I share eBooks with other people?
If you send the link for an OverDrive Read eBook to a friend or peer we’ll get them started with a sample of the book. People often discover books through word-of-mouth. There’s no reason things should be any different on the internet.
Can I read eBooks on my iPad – or other iOS devices?
Just open up your OverDrive Read eBook in the Safari web browser. For easy access to your book either bookmark it or ‘Add to Home Screen’ – the latter will make your eBook into a pretty web-app. Bookmarking or adding your eBook to the home screen will also save it for offline reading.
Can I read eBooks on my Kindle, Nook or Sony e-reader?
OverDrive Read works with any device that has a modern web browser.
This includes newer Kindle Fires (like the HD and HDX) and the NOOK HD and HD+.
Some devices (such as Sony e-readers and Kindle Keyboards) are not compatible as their browsers are very basic, while some e-readers don’t have browsers at all.
Can I print an eBook?
No, printing OverDrive Read eBooks is not supported.
My browser says I need to install a ‘Chrome Plugin’. What does that mean?
Google provides a free plug-in for some browsers that don’t support aspects of HTML5 and CSS3 that OverDrive Read uses.
Because OverDrive Read is based on these standards, your browser requires the plug-in in order to display an eBook correctly. Thankfully the Chrome Plugin is small, safe and very quick to install.
Be aware that the Chrome plugin doesn’t support offline caching – so if this feature is important to you, you might be better off installing an alternative web browser.
I’ve changed my mind and want to read my ebook with Adobe® Digital Editions. What do I do?
You can return to your library Bookshelf and choose to read your eBook in a different format. A list of available formats for each eBook can be found next to every borrowed title on your Bookshelf.
How will OverDrive Read benefit schools and libraries?
When users read eBooks with OverDrive Read they don’t need to install any software, transfer any files or use Adobe® Digital Editions.
All they’ll need is a device or computer with a modern web browser (like Chrome, Firefox, Internet Explorer or Safari). Then they simply log into their OverDrive Bookshelf and start reading right there in the browser. It’s that simple.
Using eBooks in web browsers also means it’s incredibly easy to demonstrate eBooks from any computer or device in your school or library, and reduces the need from involvement from your network adminstrator or IT person.
How do I borrow an eBook with OverDrive Read?
When you’re borrowing an eBook there are often a few different formats available including EPUB ebooks, PDFs, Kindle books – and now OverDrive Read.
To read your borrowed eBooks with OverDrive Read, log into your Bookshelf and click on the ‘Read’ button next to book you want to read.
What happens to my eBook when my loan period expires?
Once the loan period expires access to the eBook you have borrowed with OverDrive Read will be revoked. You can always re-borrow the eBook and read it the exact same way.
Can I borrow eBooks on behalf of colleagues/students?
Not at this stage. But it’s easy to direct colleagues and students to specific eBooks by simply sharing the book’s URL. Then they can borrow and begin reading instantly – all without leaving the comfort of their web browser.
I have bought several eBooks in the EPUB format already. Do I have to buy the OverDrive Read versions now?
We’re not changing the way existing OverDrive services work. We’re just adding to what we offer to expand your options and increase usability across the board. The majority of EPUB ebooks can now be read with OverDrive Read. Users can choose the format they’d like to read with when they log into their OverDrive Bookshelf.
Are OverDrive Read eBooks protected by DRM?
Because OverDrive Read is a browser-based eBook platform, we are able to apply Digital Rights Management (DRM) through identity authentication and a few other measures, without exposing the file behind the ebook.
How does OverDrive Read work?
OverDrive Read allows eBooks to be read in web browsers using HTML5 technology. This means eBooks can be accessed and read on smartphones, tablets, computers and any other device with a modern web browser.
There are no files involved as eBooks are stored in the cloud. Readers can access eBooks the same way they do a website and can cache – or save – their eBooks for later use if they plan on being offline.
Can readers download EPUB files from OverDrive Read?
No, not from OverDrive Read itself.
Some eBooks are able to be borrowed in a range of formats, including as Adobe® Digital Edition EPUB files, but the user must return to his or her library in order to do so, and these files are protected by file-appropriate DRM.
OverDrive Read is a file-less and software-less eBook service. Ebooks are stored in the cloud, meaning the only thing required to use OverDrive Read is a modern web browser.
Can eBooks be shared on the internet?
Only people who have bought or borrowed an eBook can access the full book with OverDrive Read. If the link to that eBook is shared on the internet, other people may have access to the sample only, or they may simply be returned to the library – but in either case, non-authenticated users will never have access to the complete book.
We think that sharing books – especially book recommendations and samples – is a great way to spread the word-of-mouth about particular titles. So we encourage users of OverDrive Read to share the links of the books they’re reading with friends and peers.