OverDrive Tips and Tricks

March 16, 2022 | Mike

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TPL card being held up

Torontonians love OverDrive – a lot. In 2021, Toronto Public Library circulated almost 10 million ebooks, audiobooks, and digital magazines through OverDrive. It was the ninth straight year that TPL led the world in total OverDrive circulation.

In lending out millions of ebooks and audiobooks every year, we have learned many tips and tricks along the way and are excited to share them so that everyone can up their OverDrive game. If you are brand new to OverDrive, you may want to check out our OverDrive guides and OverDrive FAQs before continuing.


Place Lots of Holds – Then Suspend Them

Have you ever gone on OverDrive only to discover that you have to place a hold on everything you want to read? It happens to all of us at some point. The key to having a steady supply of books is to place lots of holds, then suspend them until you are looking for something to read. I like having a mix of books on hold so that there is always something that suits my mood. Only placing holds on true crime books is not much help when you want some feel-good fiction.

OverDrive lets you place 30 holds and holds can be suspended for 180 days. They will automatically become active when the suspension expires, but can always be suspended again. Just unsuspend your hold whenever you are ready and wait for the next copy to be returned.

Maxed out your 30 holds? Add books to your wish list in OverDrive or tag them in Libby. This is especially useful for books that are available but you do not want to read right away.


When to Find New Books

Have you ever searched for a new book on the TPL website and found a print copy but no digital copy? The simple explanation is that print copies are purchased ahead of the publication date, but digital copies on OverDrive are usually only purchased once the book is published.

If there is a book you really want to read, the important thing to know is its publication date. (Find the publication date online from Indigo, your local bookstore, or the published.) For popular books and best sellers, they are usually available in OverDrive later that day or the next day. The most important thing is to search in OverDrive or the Libby app as it takes an extra day or two for books to get added to the library catalogue. Set a reminder for yourself and you should be able to get near the top of the holds list.

If the book is not showing up a week after publication, you can suggest a title be purchased. Unfortunately, not all publishers make their books available through OverDrive, so it might not be possible for TPL to get an electronic copy.


Browse on Your Computer, Then Read on Your Device

If you find it difficult to browse and search on your device, you can always use a computer to browse the OverDrive website, place holds and check out books. Then simply use your device to download the book and start reading! The Libby app syncs your account all by itself and you can adjust the settings for the app so it automatically downloads your books.

If you are using the OverDrive website to place holds and check out books, just be aware that some file types will not work on all devices. A file type that is not compatible with Libby will not appear in the app.


Pay it Forward and Return Your Books Early

Finished reading your book? Do the next person in line a favour and return it early! Yes, OverDrive books automatically come off your account when they are due, but that means the next person is waiting for your book to be returned even if you are done. Books can be returned through the OverDrive website, in the Libby app or on a Kobo eReader with direct downloads. The next person waiting sends their thanks!