How to Check Out and Read Library Ebooks on Your Phone or Tablet

Nancy Messieh 20-07-2018

If your library offers ebooks, one of the easiest ways to search for and check out ebooks is through Overdrive, the leading digital reading platform for libraries and schools worldwide.


But you’re probably not thinking about reading those ebooks on your computer are you? Enter Libby, a mobile app (Android, iOS, Microsoft) meant precisely for reading library ebooks, particularly if you don’t have a Kindle.

So why Libby?

You can borrow ebooks for 21 days after which they’re automatically returned. (So this is also a great way to avoid late fees by checking out the physical book.)

How to Add Your Library Card to Libby

You can add your library card to the Libby app by doing the following:

  • When you open the app tap the profile icon in the top-right corner.
  • Tap Add A Library.
  • You can then search for your library using your zip code, current location, library name, or city.
  • You can then sign in with your library card credentials (i.e. your library card number).

If you have more than one library added to Libby, tap the profile icon and tap Switch Library to go back and forth between your different libraries.

If your library doesn’t have ebooks, there are a few tools that can help you find other libraries that offer ebooks. If you want more of a selection, be sure to check out these ebook subscriptions with unlimited reading plans The 6 Best Ebook Subscription Services for Unlimited Reading Ebook subscription sites allow for unlimited reading for a flat monthly fee, similar to Netflix and Spotify. Should you subscribe? Which site is best? Read More .

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  1. Christina
    July 28, 2018 at 12:24 pm

    Since when is Overdrive only for desktop reading? I have only ever had Overdrive on my iPad, and have never had a problem with it. As it is, Overdrive developed Libby.

    And all publishers are still very slow to publish everything to ebooks, hence the delay. It’s not just your library system; it’s an industry problem.

  2. HildyJ
    July 20, 2018 at 5:59 pm

    Note that the article talks about ebooks but Libby can also handle audiobooks which can be checked out from libraries.

    Also, when the article mentions other libraries, it means other library systems, like neighboring counties or colleges, not other branch libraries. ask your library about any reciprocal arrangements they might have with other library systems.

  3. Guido
    July 20, 2018 at 3:13 pm

    Libby is great, use it all the time. Only downside is it could be weeks, often months, to get popular titles.

    I just put holds on lots of things and wait for them to trickle in. Then transfer to my kindle.