OverDrive Read allows you to read books in your web browser. This FAQ contains information for readers, publishers, libraries, and schools about how this works (and why it’s so convenient and easy).

To find out whether your smartphone, tablet, laptop, or desktop computer is compatible with OverDrive Read, use our compatibility guide.

Using OverDrive Read

What is OverDrive Read?

OverDrive Read is our browser-based eBook reader. Reading in a web browser means that you can read eBooks without the need for downloads or special software on a smartphone, tablet, or computer.

Try it now with a sample from Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire by J.K. Rowling.

What app or software is required to use OverDrive Read?

There’s no need to download or install any new software. OverDrive Read works with the web browser on your phone, tablet, or computer. Learn more about what browsers are compatible with OverDrive Read.

Where can I find OverDrive Read eBooks?

You can sample and read eBooks in OverDrive Read through the OverDrive digital collection for your library or school. You can also visit overdrive.com to find a library near you, sample eBooks, or sign up for an OverDrive account.

How do I borrow an eBook with OverDrive Read?

You borrow an OverDrive Read eBook like any other digital title in the OverDrive collection for your library or school.

Once it’s on your library bookshelf, just click the Read button to start reading.

Can OverDrive Read eBooks be shared on social networks?

Sharing the web address of an eBook you’re reading will provide your friends with a sample of the same book. So, with a text, Tweet, or Facebook post, you can let your friends in on what you’re reading instantly. Keep in mind, only the person who has borrowed the title will be able to read the whole book.

You can also share or embed an eBook from overdrive.com. Simply search for an eBook, click the jacket cover, then select the Share icon in the Readbox to share or embed the eBook sample.

Can I read an OverDrive Read eBook if I’m not connected to the internet?

Yes. In the Read menu, you’ll find an option to download the eBook you’re reading to your browser’s cache from the cloud. Once it’s saved, you can read it anytime, even when not connected to the internet. Be sure to bookmark or save the URL so that you can easily return to the eBook later.

If you clear your cache or delete temporary internet files, you will need an internet connection to open and download (or cache) the eBook again.

Please note that some OverDrive Read eBooks (especially graphic-heavy ones) are too large to be completely cached (downloaded). So, when you select the download button, you’ll only be able to save part of the book.

How do I get back to a book once I’ve closed my browser?

You can get back to your OverDrive Read eBook from your library Bookshelf or by bookmarking it in your web browser.

Bookmarking the eBook, or adding it to your browser favorites, allows you to easily return to it, which is especially handy if you’ve downloaded it for offline reading.

Is my reading progress saved and synced between devices for OverDrive Read eBooks?

Yes. OverDrive Read automatically saves your reading progress, bookmarks, notes, and highlights to the cloud whenever you have an active internet connection. This allows you to return to your reading quickly and continue from where you left off no matter which device or browser you’re using.

If you’re reading offline, your progress is saved in whichever browser you’re using. Your progress will automatically sync the next time you open the title in the same browser with an active internet connection.

Do I need an Adobe® ID?

No. All you need is your library card or student ID (and PIN, if required).

Can I change the text size or background color of a title in OverDrive Read?

Yes. Many eBooks in OverDrive Read allow you to optimize your experience by adjusting font size, font style, background color, and even the line spacing. See our help page for detailed instructions for adjusting these “readability” settings.

However, “Fixed layout” eBooks (like comic books, picture books, cookbooks, and more) have been designed to more closely resemble printed books, so you cannot adjust the readability settings.

What’s a fixed layout eBook?

“Fixed layout” eBooks allow a publisher to design the digital pages of an eBook so that they look just like the ones in the print version, with every word and picture in its proper place. This kind of formatting is essential for a lot of graphic-heavy books like textbooks, comic books, children’s books, and more.

While you’ll be able to enjoy most features of OverDrive Read while reading fixed layout eBooks (like notes, highlights, and bookmarks), you won’t be able to adjust font, font size, spacing, or background color.

How do narrated eBooks work with OverDrive Read?

Some publishers provide OverDrive Read eBooks that are read aloud by a professional narrator. When you borrow a narrated title, select the Start narration button at the bottom of the page to begin the audio. Many books will highlight the word, sentence, or paragraph as it’s read, so you can follow along with the text. Visit our help site for more information.

Can I search for specific text inside a book?

Yes. You can search the text of any OverDrive Read title that you’ve borrowed. See our help page for detailed instructions.

Can I take notes, highlight text, or bookmark passages in an OverDrive Read eBook?

Yes. You can do all three in an OverDrive Read eBook. For detailed instructions, visit our help page.

Can I return a book before the lending period is over?

Yes. You can return OverDrive Read eBooks at any time as long as you haven’t downloaded the title in another format. If you have, then you may have to use the OverDrive app or Adobe® Digital Editions to return it.

Can I print an eBook with OverDrive Read?

No. OverDrive Read eBooks cannot be printed at this time.

Can I copy and paste text from an eBook with OverDrive Read?

No. OverDrive Read does not currently support the ability to copy text from an eBook and paste it elsewhere.

What if I wanted to switch from reading in OverDrive Read to the OverDrive app or Adobe® Digital Editions?

You can return to your library Bookshelf and choose to read the eBook in a different format. You can find a list of available formats next to each borrowed title on your Bookshelf.

Please note that your reading progress and bookmarks will not be transferred between formats.

What devices and browsers are compatible with OverDrive Read?

OverDrive Read will allow you to read books online and offline on devices with an up-to-date web browser. For more details, see our compatibility page.

Can I read OverDrive Read eBooks on my Kindle, NOOK, or Kobo?

Yes. The following Kindle, NOOK, and Kobo tablet devices work with OverDrive Read:

  • Kindle: Fire, Fire HD, and Fire HDX
  • NOOK: HD, HD+, and Galaxy Tab 4 NOOK
  • Kobo: Arc and Arc HD

If you encounter trouble with any of these devices, please be sure to contact us. For more information, please see our OverDrive Read compatibility guide.

Please note that you’ll need to install Chrome for Android to enjoy narrated eBooks in OverDrive Read.

Libraries and Schools

How will OverDrive Read benefit schools and libraries?

OverDrive Read is a point-and-click (or tap) reading experience that works with up-to-date web browsers found on computers, tablets, and phones. Users do not need to install extra software or register an Adobe® ID. Simply log into your library or school Bookshelf and start reading immediately in the browser.

Try it now with a sample from Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire by J.K. Rowling.

Does OverDrive Read change the way other OverDrive services work?

All your OverDrive services and reading options will continue to work as they do today. We’ve simply added OverDrive Read for an easier and more accessible way for your users to enjoy eBooks on many devices.

How much does OverDrive Read cost?

OverDrive Read is included with the services you already have, expanding and optimizing your readers’ choices and experiences on almost any device. If you’ve purchased an EPUB eBook that’s also available in OverDrive Read (and most are), then your users will have access to those Read titles automatically.

Note: Fixed layout and narrated eBooks are special formats supported by OverDrive Read. You can purchase these new eBooks separately.

What happens to the EPUB eBooks that I’ve already purchased? Do I have to buy the OverDrive Read versions now?

The majority of the EPUB eBooks in your collection can now be viewed with OverDrive Read at no additional cost. Your readers can choose the format they would like to read from the Bookshelf on your digital collection website. They’ll still have the option to download the EPUB.

Note: Fixed layout and narrated eBooks are special formats supported by OverDrive Read. You can purchase these new eBooks separately.

What training is required for OverDrive Read?

We have several help articles that walk you through OverDrive Read’s new user interface and its features. Since OverDrive Read requires no software or registration (beyond library cards or school IDs), there’s no need for extensive training materials or for involvement from your network administrator or IT staff.

Can PDF titles be exported to OverDrive Read?

Not at this time.

Are interactive whiteboards compatible with OverDrive Read?

Generally, you can expect interactive whiteboards to display OverDrive Read eBooks as well as they do any webpage.

However, if you experience issues with OverDrive Read on an interactive whiteboard, please check to see that you have the latest drivers provided by the manufacturer installed and try again. If you are still unable to use your interactive whiteboard, please contact us.


Are OverDrive Read eBooks protected by Digital Rights Management (DRM)?

OverDrive utilizes DRM through identity authentication and other industry security standards without exposing the file behind the eBook.

Can readers download EPUB files from OverDrive Read?

No. OverDrive Read is its own format and cannot generate downloadable EPUB files. Though each eBook is currently sourced from EPUB content, the original EPUB is not linked to an eBook once it reaches OverDrive Read servers (to protect the file).

Where can I see a demo of OverDrive Read?

Visit overdrive.com to see samples of OverDrive Read in action or find a library and borrow an OverDrive Read title from it.

Can I build a promotional site using OverDrive Read?

OverDrive Read’s browser-based design and automatic sample generation allow for easy website construction. You can create an instant preview for any promotion by adding the eBook’s URL into your website or by embedding a Readbox (find the title on overdrive.com and select the Share button from its details page).

Can I use OverDrive Read in social media and email campaigns?

Share an OverDrive Read sample URL to provide a direct link to a preview of an eBook for social media and email campaigns. Then, users can instantly view part of the title you’re promoting on their desktop, tablet, or mobile device.

You can also embed a Readbox directly into your promotional blog post or website.

What formats are compatible with the OverDrive Read platform?

OverDrive Read is compatible with EPUB files. Using OverDrive as a distributor of your eBooks will automatically expand your reader base to include this new browser-based reading experience.

OverDrive Read supports fixed layout eBooks and eBooks with embedded audio (like narration).

What is maximum file size supported for each OverDrive Read title?

There’s no size limit for OverDrive Read eBooks. However, we recommend aiming for 5 MB or less for eBooks with reflowable text and 50 MB or less for fixed layout eBooks.

How do I get my publication into OverDrive Read?

Simply upload your EPUBs to OverDrive just as you have in the past. We will convert them into the OverDrive Read format and make them available in Content Reserve.

If you’re providing a fixed layout eBook, please provide us the title in EPUB 3 Fixed Layout format. Or, if you’re providing an eBook with narration, please be sure to send us the audio in MP3 or M4A format.

If you are not currently an OverDrive partner, you can fill out an application on our website.

Is any special preparation needed for my EPUB files?

No. As long as your content is EPUB compliant, it will be automatically converted to display in OverDrive Read.

How do I tell if my document or content is EPUB compliant?

There are several free tools available online that will help you discover whether or not your document is already EPUB compatible. Epubcheck is a good place to start. It detects errors in code that could cause trouble in an EPUB file.

What if there is a problem with a file that causes a title to display incorrectly in OverDrive Read?

Once a problem has been identified with a file, OverDrive will identify the source of the issue. If the file needs to be resupplied, our content team will contact you to request replacement source.

What audio formats can I send for eBooks with embedded audio (like narration or a soundtrack)?

For compatibility reasons, we require that you send audio files in MP3 or M4A format. We recommend MP3 for the highest level of compatibility. These files are most easily processed by and played in many browsers OverDrive Read supports.

How does OverDrive ensure that only authenticated users can access a particular book?

OverDrive Read requires user authentication with an email address and password (or library card and PIN) before a user can access protected content. Once a user is positively identified, OverDrive Read’s DRM uses time-sensitive contextual locks to verify that all content requests originate from the authenticated client.

Retailers and OEMs

What can OverDrive Read do for retailers, resellers, and OEMs?

OverDrive Read is a great way to enjoy eBooks the without having to download software or applications outside of a compatible web browser. Reading in your browser also means that you can read your eBooks on a smartphone, tablet, or computer.

Try it now with a sample from Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire by J.K. Rowling.

You can sell OverDrive Read titles through the same services OverDrive uses for distribution and sales of downloadable EPUB files and audiobooks.

Who is using OverDrive Read now? Where can I see it in action?

OverDrive Read can be seen in digital library and school collections across the world. Visit overdrive.com to view samples of OverDrive Read eBooks or find a library that has OverDrive Read eBooks in its collection.

How can I promote titles with OverDrive Read?

Share an OverDrive Read sample URL to provide social media and email campaigns with a direct link to an eBook sample. Then, users can instantly view part of the title you’re promoting on their desktop, tablet, or mobile device.

You can also embed an OverDrive Read sample into your promotional blog post, email, or website.

Do all OverDrive Read titles come with samples?

Titles in the OverDrive Read format are automatically provided with a sample, allowing buyers the opportunity to preview their purchase. You can share a sample using the URL for the full copy of an OverDrive Read eBook. Only authorized customers would be able to read the full title.

Can OverDrive Read be branded?

OverDrive Read is a brandable solution for reading eBooks. Your particular brand and messaging can be added to your own customized version of OverDrive Read.