Library ebook app OverDrive is shutting down May 1, readers will be directed to Libby instead

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For more than a decade, the OverDrive app has provided a service that allows institutions, including public libraries and schools, to lend their digital catalogs of e-books, audiobooks, and other digital media to online users. Now this old digital reading partner will be shut down for good. After the company announced its plans last year to discontinue the app and remove it from app stores, the company now says OverDrive will shut down completely on May 1, 2023. Readers will be asked to use the newer Libby digital app instead.

The OverDrive app has been part of readers’ workflows for years, providing an easy way to access your digital library. But it’s fair to say that the app has started to show its age in recent years, necessitating this shift.

In August 2021, OverDrive first outlined its plans to transition users to its newer mobile app Libby and began the process of working with partner institutions to guide their own respective user bases to make the switch as well. For example, it suggested that libraries begin removing references to the OverDrive app from their websites and other promotional materials. Later, users of the OverDrive app were asked to switch as well, with the goal that most would have switched to the newer Libby app by the end of 2022.

Also last year, OverDrive removed the deprecated app from the Apple App Store, Google Play, and the Microsoft App Store, preventing new users from finding and installing it on their own devices. While the company previously shared its general plans around the sunset timeline for OverDrive, it only announced the actual end date for the app a few days ago, which is May 1, 2023.

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At that point, OverDrive will be officially discontinued. To prepare for the transition, OverDrive is providing libraries with webinars and virtual training sessions, marketing kits, and readiness checklists that include best practices and recommended steps to help them prepare themselves and their customers for the transition, among other things.

Although Libby is a newer app compared to OverDrive, it’s not really a “new” app. It was first released in 2017 as a modernized version of OverDrive, incorporating feedback from OverDrive’s library partners and book lovers. The app allows readers to enter their library card number, which is stored in the app, then browse their library’s catalog of e-books, audiobooks, magazines, and other materials, and put items on hold.

Once checked out, materials can be downloaded for offline reading or streamed to save space on your device. Among many other features, the app also supports multiple library cards, user-created book lists, customizable font sizes, zoom for magazines and comic books, and the ability to send downloaded titles to the Kindle reading app in the US. In addition, audiobooks can be streamed in-app or via Android Auto or CarPlay, with adjustable speeds.

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Some of Libby’s features were never available on OverDrive, including the support for multiple library cards and the unified bookshelf for all loans and holds. OverDrive also didn’t offer features like Libby’s ability to export notes and highlights, Sonos speaker integration, or CarPlay. (OverDrive only supports Android Auto). Libby also provides access to other entertainment resources, if supported by the library, such as Kanopy, Bluprint, Universal Class, Indieflix, and others.

However, Libby will miss a few things found in OverDrive, including the “Recommend to Library (RTL)” feature, which will be discontinued on all platforms with the app’s disappearance. Instead, users are encouraged to use “Notify Me” to express their interest in titles not yet in their library’s collection. Libby is also not available on the Amazon Appstore. And it doesn’t support downloading audiobooks to a desktop computer – a feature that was once necessary for transferring files to MP3 players. (For this niche use case, legacy OverDrive apps for Mac and Windows are still supported.)

The company says phasing out OverDrive will allow it to focus its resources entirely on Libby.

That’s something it might have to do, as the app has already had a few glitches and issues this year, making it inaccessible to users at times. The most recent outage occurred only yesterday and lasted an hour and a half. It affected both Libby and Sora users. (The latter is another OverDrive-built app for students.)

Prior to May 1, OverDrive users on iOS, Android, and Windows (8 and 10) will see an in-app message explaining why they should switch to Libby, which will link to a resource page about the transition. The page explains how to log in to Libby and sync your OverDive wishlist and answer common questions.

Libby is available for iOS, Android and the web at

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