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Using Overdrive Library eBooks on your Apple iPad, iPod, or iPhone - iOS5 or older

Bronze user
Last modification by sppl
November 19, 2013, 10:04 pm → version: 6
Language: English
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Using Overdrive Library eBooks on your Apple iPad, iPod, or iPhone - iOS5 or older 5 by 15 users
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You can use Overdrive app (also known as the Overdrive Media Console) to borrow and read EPUB library ebooks from Overdrive on your smart device.

These screenshots come from an iPod Touch 3, iPad, and iPad Mini.

Start by downloading the free Overdrive app from your app store.


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Open the app.


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If your app has not been authorized, when you open it, you’ll automatically be taken to Settings.  Tap Authorize with Adobe ID and you’ll see the Adobe Authorization screen.  If you already have an Adobe ID, enter it here, tap Authorize, and skip to step 6. 

If not, tap Get a Free Adobe ID at the bottom of the screen, which will take you to the Adobe website in your browser. 

If you are using more than one device to read EPUB Overdrive library ebooks, you want all of them to be authorized to the same Adobe ID so you can share books among them. You can have up to 6 devices/computers/apps authorized with the same Adobe ID. 

If you want to know the why of all this, read on. Otherwise move to the next step.

Publishers protect their investment and rights using copyright protection software called Digital Rights Management (DRM), which controls how an eBook can be used. For Overdrive, that comes in three parts:

1.Overdrive’s eBooks are wrapped in DRM software that ●

2. works with Adobe (a software company) and

3. the Overdrive app to ensure that Overdrive eBooks are used properly.

So, you need to Authorize your copy of the Overdrive app with your Adobe ID to use EPUB Overdrive library ebooks so publishers can be assured that you can’t print, copy, or give away their books.


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Tap Don’t have an Adobe ID?.


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Complete the application. If you don’t want Adobe sending you advertising emails, make sure the Stay informed via email about Adobe products and services box is unchecked.

Tap the Create button.

You will be taken back to the Overdrive app and your device will be authorized.


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The Overdrive app has two parts – Bookshelf (to organize and read books) and Get Books. Move between them using the button in the upper right corner.

Tap Get Books.


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Here’s a list of libraries where you’ve checked out ebooks in the past. You can tap a library’s name to visit it again.

To add a new library, tap Add a Library.

A lot of the other functions are at the bottom of this screen.  Settings (where you would find your Adobe ID), Help, and others.


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Postal or Zip code is often the easiest way to search. Enter your search terms and tap Search.


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Choose your local library.


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Tap the star to make this system a favorite so it’ll stay in your list.

Tap the library system to get into their Overdrive Catalog.


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This is St. Paul Public’s Overdrive catalog.

Try using the Overdrive catalog with your device rotated both with the long side up and down (portrait) and side to side (landscape).  See which view of the catalog works best for you.  If it still doesn’t look the same as the pictures, scroll up and down to find all the options.

The book symbol in the upper right on each cover is black when the title is available, and gray when it’s checked out..

To find a book, browse through categories (hidden or shown through the Menu icon) or…


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…use Search or…


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Advanced Search.

You can search by title or author or search in certain categories. This is also where you find the ever handy Only Titles with Copies Available option.


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You can narrow your search results in different ways.

You can:

Search within results.

Search by format


You can also limit by:

My library’s collection – only what SPPL owns

Only titles with copies available - just what’s available for checkout

Additional titles to recommend - everything Overdrive offers (This collection includes what SPPL owns plus many other titles. You can use it to recommend titles for purchase to your library. )


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To indicate how long you want to check your ebooks out for – 7, 14, or 21 days - click on Settings in Account. Loans are automatically set for 21 days.


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Tap on the cover of a book for more information and to check it out.

Be sure to check the Available Formats to make sure you can read it on your device.

Click the Borrow button to check the ebook out.

If you see a Place a Hold button instead, no copies of the title are “on shelf;” place a hold. When your turn comes up, you’ll get an email and have 3 days to check the book out. (Each copy of can only be checked out by one person at a time.)

Wishlist = a list of titles you’re interested in – for your reference only.  You are not placing a hold here. Click the ribbon or the button - The ribbon turns red when a title is on your wish list.

Library Copies = what SPPL owns.

Available Copies = what are currently “on shelf.”


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Enter your library card number; you don’t need your PIN.


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Tap Download.

Tap the format you want – in this case EPUB. Kindle only works with Kindle readers, NOT with the Overdrive app.

Tap Confirm and Download.

When you first check out a title, it has a Return Title button.  You can use this to return the title before you download it.  After you download it you need to return it from your Bookshelf.


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Go back to your Bookshelf.

Tap the cover to open the book.


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Your book, ready to read.


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Tap on one side of the screen or swipe your finger across the screen to turn the page.

The book controls at the top and bottom of the screen (including the left facing arrow to get out of the book) are hidden. Tapping the center of the screen should make them appear. You might also try a menu button or long-tapping.


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Under the title there’s a little calendar showing when your book is due.

To return your book early or delete it from your device, tap the plus sign to the right of your title.  Click Return/Delete and then …


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Delete only just removes the book from your device.  You still have it checked out and can download it as many times as you’d like.

Return then Delete returns the book to Overdrive; you’d have to check it out again to download it again.

Otherwise, when the book’s time is up it gets returned automatically, but you may have to delete the unusable file from your device manually.


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The Overdrive App works for getting, storing, and reading any ePUB book, not just those from Overdrive. 

Get Books should also keep track of other book sources, Project Gutenberg. To add sources other than libraries, go to the source in your browser app, and download a book.  If it opens up automatically in Overdrive, the source will be added to your Get Books page. 

You cannot read Kindle books using the Overdrive app. You can only read Kindle books using the Kindle app.


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You can get a lot of free ebooks legally online. Many of them are in the public domain (not covered by copyright anymore), some of them are promotional, and some of them are not professionally published. You can find a list of sources at

Just be sure that you get books that are in the following formats:




Only Kindle devices/apps can use the Kindle or Mobipocket formats.


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This Always Available link takes you to Project Gutenberg ( which has thousands of free, public-domain ebooks available in multiple formats.  As they go through a multi-layer editing process, they’re of good quality.


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You can get additional help by tapping the help icon at the bottom of the Get Books screen or…


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 …you can click the question mark at the top of every page of the Overdrive catalog.

Discover the Next Generation Experience gives a good overview of the new Overdrive, if you want further help.

If you can’t find your answer anywhere else, click Support to email the library.


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Enjoy your eBooks!

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