How to Download and Use the OverDrive App

What is the OverDrive app?

The OverDrive app is another optional but convenient way to use OverDrive.  With the OverDrive app installed, you can play and otherwise manage any of the titles that you’ve downloaded from OverDrive.  Basically, this allows you to use OverDrive without having to actually access your Bookshelf by logging back into OverDrive itself.

To learn how to download items from OverDrive, see our How to Use OverDrive tutorial.

(NOTE: If you want to read e-books downloaded from OverDrive on your Windows or Apple desktop computer, you may need a program called Adobe Digital Editions instead.  Click here and follow the instructions to download and use this program.)

How to download the OverDrive app and install it

You can download and install the OverDrive app from many places, and for many devices.  As an example, we’ll show you how to download and install the OverDrive app for your Windows desktop computer, right from the OverDrive website.

  1. Go to in your web browser.  When you get there, scroll to the bottom of the screen, and under the “Using OverDrive” heading, click Download the App.

  2. On the page you’re taken to, scroll almost to the bottom of the screen, and click Download for Windows Desktop.

  3. You will be asked if you want to save the file “ODMediaConsoleSetup.msi”.  Click Save, then use the explorer window that appears to choose where you want to save the file, and click Save again. 

    (NOTE: If this window doesn’t appear, the file will automatically go to your “Downloads” folder.)

  4. Now, find where you saved the downloader from OverDrive, and double-click it to open it.

  5. Allow the installer to run by clicking Run, click Next, and accept the license agreement by clicking the button beside “I Agree”.  Click Next again, and when you get to a screen like the one below, you can choose where you want to save the OverDrive app.

    More importantly, you can choose whether or not you want to be the only one who can use the OverDrive app on your computer.  If you do, click the button beside “Only Me”.  Or, if there are other people who use your computer who might also want to use the OverDrive app, leave the button beside “Everyone” marked. 

    Click Next when you’re ready to move on.  Click Next again to begin installing the OverDrive app.  Click Close when it’s done.

How to use the OverDrive app

We’ll go through how to use the OverDrive app on Windows in order to demonstrate what you can do with it.

  1. Double-click on the OverDrive for Windows icon on your desktop to open the program.

  2. Your OverDrive app won’t initially have any items from OverDrive in it, so click File, and then click Open.

    (NOTE: You can also hold the “Control” key on your keyboard and press the “O” key as a shortcut.  That’s the letter “o”, not a “zero”, by the way.)

  3. Find a file on your computer that you’ve downloaded from OverDrive (again, see our How to Use OverDrive tutorial for how to download items from OverDrive).  You can identify one by the file extension “.odm”, which stands for “OverDrive Media” (it will also likely be represented by the OverDrive logo).  Click it to select it, and then click Open.

    The next window will ask you where you want to store your file on your computer; just click OK if you’re fine with the default location.  If the location doesn’t exist, just click OK, and the OverDrive app will create it for you.

  4. Some items from OverDrive will have to be downloaded in parts.  The next window will allow you to select which parts you want to download.  Click the individual check boxes beside each part to mark them or unmark them for download, or click Check All or Uncheck All to select or deselect all parts.  Then click OK.

    (NOTE: If you only want to download certain parts because you’re strapped for time, don’t worry; we’ll show you how to get the rest later.)

  5. Once your item is registered in your OverDrive app, clicking on it will select it and allow you to choose different actions for it across the top of the page.

    Play — Play the selected item.

    Transfer — Move the selected item onto another device, such as an e-reader, tablet computer, or smart phone.  The instructions for doing so will be provided as you go along.

    Burn — Transfer (parts of) the selected item onto a CD.  Again, just follow the instructions that you’re given for doing so.

    Download — If you haven’t downloaded all parts of this item yet, click here and follow step 4 to get the rest of them.

    Delete — If this item doesn’t work anymore (because your lending period has expired), or you just don’t want to use it anymore, click here to remove it from the OverDrive app.

    Properties — You can see more information about this item, including a description of its content, what collection on OverDrive you got it from, and what you’re allowed to do with it.

  6. You can also use the other buttons here to change how items are displayed in your OverDrive app, sort them in various ways, or get further help on using the program, respectively (from left to right).

Well, that’s a crash course on using the OverDrive app!  Enjoy your media!

OverDrive Search

If you’re hoping to find something specific on OverDrive, give the search functions a try.  They’ll help you narrow down what you’re looking for with several different criteria, so that title you’ve heard so much about will be just a few clicks away.

The easiest way to search for something on OverDrive is to do so within your local library’s specific collection (so you’re not looking for items that your library doesn’t have available anyway).  So, you’re going to want to find your library’s collection on OverDrive and log into it first.  If you need help remembering how to do this, see the “Find your Library or School and Sign In” section of our How to Use OverDrive tutorial (here).

Once you’re logged into your library’s collection on OverDrive, just follow the steps below.

To search on OverDrive

  1. Click in the “Search” box in the top-right corner (it will expand so that you can see what you put in it) and type in a term that you want to search for.  Then click the magnifying glass button beside this box.

    Or, you can click Advanced Search to give yourself additional search options.

    (NOTE: If you decide not to do an advanced search, then skip the next two steps, and go right to step 4.)

  2. If you select Advanced Search, you will have three groups of criteria that you can use in order to find an item on OverDrive.  We’ll go over the first two here, and then the third in the next step.

    The first set of criteria lets you type in search terms to find what you’re looking for.  You can enter an item’s “Title”, its “Author or Creator”, or its “ISBN” (International Standard Book Number).

    The second set of criteria let you use drop-down menus to select certain parameters that you want the item you’re looking for to have.  They include:

    Date Added — Your results will have been added to the current collection within a certain time frame.

    Subject — Your results will be from a specific genre or tackle a specific topic, such as crime, health and wellness, or nonfiction.

    Format — Your results will be a specific type of media (e-book, audio book, video, music, etc.) or a specific file type (EPUB e-book, PDF e-book, MP3 audio book, etc.)

    Language — Your results will contain content that is in a specific language.

    Publisher — Your results will all be published by a certain company.

    Awards — Your results will all have won, or have been nominated for, a certain award.

  3. The third set of advanced search criteria — grouped as “Levels” — lets you use pairs of drop-down menus to choose ranges of reading difficulty within which your results will fall. 

    They include:

    Interest Level — The age-appropriateness of the item’s content; it’s not related to difficulty.

    ATOS Level — This measures word difficulty, including how many words are in a sentence and how long each word is.

    Lexile Measure — This measures how frequently certain words are used, as well as how long sentences are (both in terms of number of words and number of characters).

    Reading Level — This is an average of the above two difficulty measures, scaled by common school grades.

    One last criterion that you can set — by clicking the check box here — is to have OverDrive only give you results for items that are currently in stock.

    If you want to clear your search criteria and start over, click Clear.  Otherwise, click Search.

  4. In this example, we’ve searched for all titles in this collection that were authored by Mark Twain.

    You can click the drop-down menu next to “Sort By” in the top-left corner and select to sort your results by relevance, alphabetical (or reverse-alphabetical) order for titles or authors, publishing date, date the items were added to the collection, or how often each item has been borrowed.

    You can also click Cover or List in the top-right corner to change how your results are displayed (Cover displays more results at once; List displays more detail about each result).  Underneath that, you can navigate between different pages of results.  The far left arrow takes you to the first page, the left arrow takes you to the previous page, the right arrow takes you to the next page, and the far right arrow takes you to the last page.  The numbers in-between represent individual results pages; click one to jump to that page.

  5. On the left-hand side of the page, you can filter your results just like you could when using the advanced search options. 

    At the top, you can select to only see items that are a certain type of media (audio books, e-books, videos, etc.).  You can also click the drop-down menus here and choose to only see items that have copies available right now, are about a certain subject, are at a certain reading level, and so on.

    You may notice two options here that weren’t in the advanced search settings: Rating and DeviceRating lets you narrow down your results based on how other people who have borrowed these items have liked or disliked them.  Device lets you find items that will work on your particular device (such as a tablet computer, e-reader, or smart phone).

    At the bottom, you can even type in new search terms, and OverDrive will search for them in addition to any other ones that you’ve specified so far.  So, for example, if I typed in “tom sawyer” and clicked Submit, OverDrive would search for items that have been authored by Mark Twain and that contain the words “tom sawyer” anywhere.  This is another way that you can narrow your search results.

  6. Once you find the item that you’re looking for, you can move your mouse cursor over it to reveal your options: Borrow it, Sample it, add it to your Wish List, Share it on social media, or get More information about it.

And those are all the ins and outs of how to search for media on OverDrive!  Here’s hoping that you always find what you look for!

How to Use OverDrive

As we went over in our What is OverDrive and how does it work article, there are really only four basic steps to using OverDrive:

  • Creating an OverDrive account (which is optional, but useful)

  • Finding and signing into your library or school’s collection with your library card or student ID

  • Finding the media that you want to access

  • Enjoying what you find!

We’ll go over how to do all four of them in brief in this lesson.

Create an OverDrive account (optional)

In addition to your library account (which keeps track of what media you have actually borrowed), you can also create an OverDrive account.  It’s not actually necessary in order to use OverDrive, but it’s handy because it helps you keep track of libraries and schools that you’re registered with, what items you search for frequently, and other preferences.

  1. Go to in your web browser and click Sign Up in the top-right corner.

  2. On the next screen, click in the appropriate boxes and type in your name, your email address, and a copy of your email address.  Then click in the “Password” box and type in a password that you want to use for your account; it has to be at least 8 characters long.

    You can also click to mark the check box here and receive email notifications of recommendations and reviews from OverDrive, based on what you borrow.  You don’t have to, though.

    Once you’re done, click Sign Up.

  3. You will receive a verification email at the email address you used to sign up.  Log into your email client and open the email titled “Important: Please Verify your OverDrive Account”.  Then click the blue hyperlink inside it.

  4. There!  Now you can use your account to adjust your settings and genres, find libraries near you, save searches, and decide whether you want recommendations or not!

Find your library or school and sign in

  1. Go to in your web browser and click Find a Library in the top-right corner.

  2. You will be taken to a map that will help you find the location of your nearby local library.

    You can use the search box in the top-left corner to find a specific library by its name or address, or you can scroll through the list below it to see all school or library networks in your area, along with their individual branches.

    You can also control the map itself by clicking and holding the mouse button down, and dragging your mouse around.  You can also press the “+” button to zoom the map in, the “-” button to zoom the map out, or the “↗” button to re-center the map on your general location.

    Click one of the dots on the map to view the school or library and the network that it belongs to.  If you’re logged into your OverDrive account, you can click Save Library to save the network you’re looking at as one that you search for frequently.  Or, click Delete Library to remove it from your list.

    (NOTE: If you’re not logged into an OverDrive account, the Save Library button will be replaced with one that takes you to that library network’s website).

    Click the name of the network that the library is part of to visit their digital collection.

  3. When you arrive at the library network’s digital collection, you should probably sign in before you do anything else.  So click Sign In; you can usually find it in the top-right corner.

  4. On the next screen, you’ll be asked to input your library card or school ID number, along with a 4-digit personal identity number (PIN).  As you are informed of here, your PIN is the last four numbers of your phone number by default, but you can change it (or may have already).

    Click in the respective boxes and type in the required information.  If you’re using a computer that someone else might use, you may also want to click the check box beside “Remember My Login Information on This Device” to unmark it.  Then click Sign In.

Find and access the title that you’re looking for

Once you’ve signed in, you can click one of the categories in the menu near the top to look for an item in a certain format and/or genre, or simply browse available items in the visual categories below.  You can even use manual and advanced search options (we’ll go over these in more detail in our OverDrive Search tutorial).

Once you find a title that you want, moving your mouse cursor over it reveals some options as to what you can do with it.

Your choices (from top-to-bottom, left-to-right) are:

  • Borrow — Gain access to this item for a specific period of time.

  • Sample — Hear or view a short excerpt from this item, in order to decide whether you want to borrow it or not.

  • Wish List — If the item isn’t available right now, or you don’t want to borrow it now but would like to keep track of it so that you can borrow it later, click here to add it to your account’s “Wish List”.

  • Share — Recommend this title to a friend (or friends).  You can share it over Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, or email.

  • More — Shows you more detailed information about this item, including its subjects, available formats, availability, and rights that you have with respect to it (e.g. whether you can transfer it to other devices or not).  You may also be able to change how long you are able to borrow the item for (1 week, 2 weeks or 3 weeks; the default period is 2 weeks).

Click Borrow to begin the lending period for this item.


Once you have borrowed an item, you will be notified that it has been added to your “Bookshelf”, as well as of how many more items can be added to your “Bookshelf”.  You will also notice that, on the item you’ve borrowed, the Borrow button has changed to Go to Bookshelf.  Click it.

Scroll through your “Bookshelf” until you find the title that you borrowed.  Click Listen (or Watch or Read) to enjoy your item right on OverDrive itself, through OverDrive’s built-in media players. 

Or, click Download to save a copy of the item onto your computer, and play it using another piece of software (such as the OverDrive app).  This will let you enjoy it without having to log back into OverDrive every time that you want to access it.

(IMPORTANT NOTE:  If you download an item, you will need to also download and install the OverDrive app in order to access it or convert it into a file that another media player will understand.  We’ll show you how to do that in our OverDrive App tutorial.)


Well, that’s a quick overview of how you can use OverDrive to access and enjoy all sorts of different media, from audio books to e-books to music to videos!