The Free Streaming Service OverDrive is Shutting Down





Women Using Laptop

The OverDrive app is officially closing down. The virtual tool has offered a valuable service that allows institutions, like public libraries and schools, to lend their digital catalogs of e-books, audiobooks, and other digital content to online users. For over a decade, this source of online information has been available to the public. Now, this digital reading tool is shutting down its website for good. 

OverDrive announced its plan to close the app from all app stores last year, and now the company has officially announced it will be removed on May 1st, 2023. From now on, readers will be redirected to a newer digital app, Libby

In August 2021, OverDrive first began to release information about plans to transition users to its newer mobile app, beginning the process of working with partnered institutions to guide their own respective user bases to make the switch as well. The plans suggested to libraries to begin removing references to the OverDrive app from their official websites and other promotional items. In turn, OverDrive eventually asked users to make the switch to their other app, with the major goal in mind being that most people would be using Libby by the end of 2022. 

To prepare for the transition on May 1st, OverDrive has been offering libraries webinars and virtual training sessions, marketing kits and preparation checklists with best practices and recommended steps, including other tools to help them prepare not only themselves but their local patrons. 

Though Libby is technically a newer app compared to OverDrive, its functions don’t feel new. First released back in 2017, Libby is the modernized version of OverDrive, and incorporated feedback both from OverDrive’s library partners and book lovers. The newer app allows readers to input their library card number, which is then safely saved within the app. Libby gives users access to their library’s catalog of e-books, audiobooks, magazines, and other materials, and can even place desired items on hold. 

The app also can support multiple library cards, user-created book lists, adjustable font sizes, magazines and comic books, and the ability to transfer downloaded content straight to the Kindle reading app, though this last feature is only available in the United States. 

Some of these helpful features weren’t ever available on OverDrive, including the ability to support several cards and create a bookshelf both for loans and holds. In addition, OverDrive never offered the ability to export notes and highlights. 

On the other hand, Libby lacks several tools the OverDrive app featured. “Recommend to Library (RTL)” was an important feature many readers utilized heavily; “Notify Me” is the next best option on the Libby app, where users can express their interest in titles not yet in their library’s collection. Libby is also unavailable on the Amazon Appstore and it doesn’t support downloading audiobooks to a desktop computer, a feature that was once revolutionary for MP3 players. 

After the fated day of May 1st, OverDrive users on iOS, Android, and Windows will receive a pop-up on the app explaining they will need to switch over to Libby and explain how to sync all of your information to the new app. 

Though this is the end of an era for the once popular OverDrive, hopefully Libby will be able to follow in its footsteps, providing free educational digital content to readers.

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