One of the great benefits of a Kobo eReader is being able to attach your library card in the settings menu and unlock a new UI entry for your local library branch. This is done through Overdrive, which is the largest digital distributor that powers libraries’ digital collections. Overdrive announced that they are shutting down their app, which is old and clunky, and instead switching everyone over to Libby, which is their next-gen app. Switching from Overdrive to Libby will not affect Kobo eReaders, as Kobo uses an API to retrieve book listings, covers, and facilitate downloading books directly to your Kobo.
Many Kobo users have been very worried about their Kobo losing the ability to download books to their eReader from Overdrive. In March, Overdrive discontinued its main Overdrive Media Console app for Android and iOS. It is no longer listed on Google Play the Apple App Store. Existing users who have the app will be able to use it until the end of the year, then all services will be shut down. Overdrive encourages users to upgrade to Libby, the new app they launched a few years ago. It has better audiobook, e-book and magazine experience.
Libby is currently not available for download on the Amazon Appstore. OverDrive has requested information and an approval timeline from Amazon but has not yet received an update. Meanwhile, Kindle Fire users can stream ebooks, audiobooks and magazines to their browser from libbyapp.com
What I love about the Libby app is being able to request a library card, right in the app. It’s much better than visiting your branch, with a few bills and getting an old-fashioned card. After all, most people just get their payment receipts delivered to their email address and don’t even get physical paper anymore.
So, just to be clear, Kobo eReaders will continue to use Overdrive Library Borrowing on their Kobo for the foreseeable future. Kobo told me that they have no plans to discontinue Overdrive anytime soon, as it’s a major selling point for people buying their book readers.
Michael Kozlowski has been writing about audiobooks and e-readers for twelve years. His articles have been picked up by major and local news sources and websites such as CBC, CNET, Engadget, Huffington Post and The New York Times. He lives in Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada.