How to Borrow Library eBooks on Kobo eReaders Using OverDrive

Kobo Overdrive

Kobo recently added OverDrive support to all the current Kobo models, a feature that was previously only available on the Kobo Aura One for the past two years.

This is a big deal because it means that Kobo ereaders can now easily download free ebooks borrowed from public libraries directly to the device wirelessly without having to use a computer and Adobe Digital Editions to transfer the ebooks like before.

This makes it a lot easier and more convenient to checkout library ebooks on Kobo devices.

The way it works is you add your library account or OverDrive account to your Kobo and then you can browse and borrow library ebooks through the Kobo store.

Here’s the list of Kobo ereaders that support OverDrive downloads:

  • Kobo Aura One
  • Kobo Forma
  • Kobo Clara HD
  • Kobo Aura H2O (Edition 2)
  • Kobo Aura (Edition 2)

Things to Know

If you have an older Kobo model, borrowed library books will automatically show up on it as well when syncing after checking out the book from one of the devices listed above, but unfortunately you can’t initiate borrowing from older Kobos.

OverDrive borrowing on Kobo ereaders is available in the following countries: the United States, Canada, the United Kingdom, Australia and New Zealand.

Tip: If you borrow ebooks from multiple libraries sign in with an OverDrive account instead of your library account or you’ll only be able to use that one library.

Getting Started

If you don’t already have a library card, you can find public libraries that support OverDrive lending on the OverDrive website.

Once you have a library card you can sign in from your Kobo and start borrowing.

Go to Settings > OverDrive > Get Started to sign in. If you don’t see the OverDrive option make sure your Kobo device has the latest software installed.

From there you can create an OverDrive account or if you just want to borrow from one library select it from the list and sign in to it with your library card and pin number.

Getting Library Books

One thing to note, with the Kobo OverDrive integration you can’t simply browse your library’s catalog of available ebooks. Instead everything is integrated into the Kobo store.

Once you sign in to your library, it will add a library tab on the Kobo Store homescreen. You find some library books from there. Another option is to use search. Just make sure to select the OverDrive option from the list next to the search bar then it will only show results that are available from your library.

You can place holds and borrow ebooks from the search results page and from individual product description pages (tap the three dots to bring up the option for holds and lending).

Once you borrow an ebook you’ll get a confirmation and then it’ll start downloading and you’re ready to read.

From your Kobo’s library view, you can use the filter option to view your OverDrive books, and if you long-press the cover you get the option to return them and you can also place holds for expired books.

20 Responses to “How to Borrow Library eBooks on Kobo eReaders Using OverDrive”

  1. I like to browse my library’s Overdrive site on my computer. After I’ve checked something out, I just sync my Kobo and it downloads.

    I never shop on ereaders so that’s more convenient for me.

  2. Could be on kobo app on android as well?

  3. What about the short lived Model Aura H20 FIRST Edition ? Using Adobe Digital Editions is such a nightmare that I use my iPad now for borrowing using Overdrive. It’s a spring 2017 purchase of the latest model at that time, and I am NOT HAPPY that Overdrive is still not supported. I’m not a tech person, I just need it to work without trying all the fixes out there on reader forums. Ain’t nobody got time for that!

    • There is no “fix” for previous gen models; it’s strictly available on the models listed above. OverDrive integration was never advertised as being available on anything but the Aura One so there’s no reason to expect otherwise. It’s surprising they added it to the other newer models, especially since the Aura 2 is only $99 at Walmart.

    • Hello SK – I have the same Kobo and the same problems. I’m at my wit’s end with restarting, redownloading, reissuing, etc. I’m pretty mad that this Kobo cost $200 and now I will have to turn around and buy another Kobo that works properly. I did email Kobo to complain and they offered me $20-30 off a new e-reader. My Aura 1 H2o is only over a year old and I can only use it for books I have purchased. I may try to complain to Kobo again and see what happens.

  4. Two questions.

    Does this include books checked out with Libby?

    Will this sync with other devices, or is it stand alone on the Kobo?

  5. One downside to using multiple libraries: On my KA1, I can only return or renew books from one library, and I can only browse from that library on the Kobo store. I don’t know why that one library is the chosen one, but trying to return or renew a book from one of the other two libraries on my KA1 causes errors. Maybe it is because that one library was my first one. I use Libby to manage my multiple libraries. Libby is what enables mutiple library support in the first place.

  6. Thank you DRC – I was just about to ask how it worked with multiple libraries. Where can I find info on how to use Libby with Kobo?

  7. The Overdrive option is no longer available on my Settings, but it was there since July 2018 when I bought it. Now I can no longer borrow books from my library. I can still borrow and download on my phone. I’ve signed in and out from Overdrive as well doing a Factory Resetting. Any other ideas?

  8. How can I borrow a book from the library that had been on hold with my Kobo Aura. I received an email from the library telling me that a book on hold had become available but I can’t seem to access it with the Overdrive function of my Kobo Aura.

  9. Yes Daniel Lavoie. I am anxiously awaiting arrival of my Kobo Aura One and would also like to continue a smooth transition of borrowing books from my local library. (Following)

    Also, Any tips on the Aura One is appreciated. I am slow at updating my KOBOs…currently letting my GLO rest for awhile 🙂 The Aura One will be my 3rd KOBO, so any thing you “seasoned” KA1’s out there can advise/share, please do!

    • *following
      This could very well be my request from January. Have there been any responses to the transitioning to the KA1 as far as borrowing books from your local library through Overdrive? I utilize Libby a lot, which is strictly for digital material (audio & ebooks) I suppose I don’t understand why Kobo chose Overdrive support over Libby….???

  10. About a month ago my Kobo Forma completely stopped syncing with Overdrive. I have been working with customer service to resolve this issue the entire time. They ended up sending me a whole new Kobo after they couldn’t come up with any solutions. The problem persists with the new device. Has anyone else had this problem? Anyone considering buying a Kobo to read library books from more than one library should be ware. As of now the Kobo software is not supporting my syncing of library books. It had always been a bit spotty with some books not syncing since I received the device back in December. Now no books will sync. Syncing through Digital Editions on a computer has also stopped working. I am going to have to return this device as I read primarily library books. Library readers beware of this product.

    • Thank you for sharing your issue, as I’m looking at Kobo devices specifically to use with Overdrive. Have you had any success with syncing since your last post?

  11. I’m having trouble syncing library books now. It worked for a while, but now I get a message saying overdrive isn’t working and I should go to the library site. Can’t get the library book to show up on kobo no matter what I do.