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eBooks & Digital Audiobooks

Get closer to your favourite writers without leaving the house.

Getting Started with a Tablet or Smartphone

Getting Started with a Tablet or Smartphone



Option 1: OverDrive Read is a quick way to get started reading eBooks in the browser of your mobile device. In some browsers, you can also download and bookmark the eBook for offline access.

Option 2: The OverDrive App will allow you to download EPUB eBooks and MP3 audiobooks for a variety of tablets and smartphones.

Option 3: The Libby App - think of it as a newer, more streamlined cousin of the OverDrive App.

Downloading ebooks directly to a tablet or smartphone is relatively straightforward. The details will vary slightly depending on the type of device – Android, Apple, Windows 8, etc. – but the basic steps are outlined here.



Option 1: use OverDrive Read

  • No need to install an app, or authorize with an Adobe ID or with an OverDrive Account!
  • Simply click on READ (in your browser). NOTE: OverDrive Read works best when using Chrome or Safari browsers.

  • To read offline (no internet), tap the centre of the screen. The OverDrive Menu will either show on the left side, or as three lines in the top left corner.
  • Select Offline Access from the OverDrive Read menu, then tap the cloud icon to cache (download) an eBook so you can read it offline.

  • Either bookmark the eBook in your browser for easy retrieval, or add a shortcut icon to your home screen.
    • On Android devices, tap the menu button (three dots, or three bars), and tap Add to Homescreen.
    • On iOS devices, tape the share button, tap Add to Homescreen, and tap Add.



Option 2: Install the OverDrive App + Download an eBook

  • On your device, visit the app store and search for OverDrive; download and install the OverDrive App
  • Alternatively, on your device, go to OverDrive App website; choose the version for your device (iOS, Android, Windows Phone, Windows 8); download and install the OverDrive App

Authorize the app:

During the installation, you will be prompted to do one of the following:

  • Sign up for an OverDrive Account (if you don't already have one, follow the prompts. This will allow you to read an eBook across multiple devices and sync your progress and bookmarks. You can create an account using your library card or email address). Note: OverDrive will send a verification email if you include your address in the registration process.
  • Sign In with your OverDrive Account (if you have previously created one)
  • "I am under 13 years old. Continue"  (you can choose this option if you want to anonymously authorize the app, if you will not be reading or listening to books across multiple devices, or if you want to authorize your device with a pre-existing Adobe ID)

Add Vancouver Public Library to Your OverDrive App

  • You will need to "Add a Library"
  • Tap the Home menu icon in the top left corner
  • Tap "Add a Library"
  • Type Vancouver Public into the search box and select Vancouver Public Library from the search results
  • Add Vancouver Public Library to your saved searches by tapping on the star to the left of the name
  • You are now ready to Find & Borrow eBooks

Find and Borrow eBooks

  • Tap on Vancouver Public Library from the menu
  • Sign In to your library account by tapping "Sign In" near the top right of the screen (you will need your library card and PIN )
  • Now you can browse or search for eBooks (generally choose EPUB for download) 
  • When you find an available title that you’d like to read or listen to, tap on the item to select it. You can click the Sample button to read or listen to part of the title before borrowing.
  • Tap the Borrow button
    • If you see Place Hold instead of Borrow, the item is not currently available
    • You can place a hold if you wish, then return to searching for an available title
  • You will be taken to the Library Bookshelf section of your account. The title is now checked out to you. The next step is to download it. You can complete the download at any time during the loan period by signing in to your account and going to the Bookshelf section. Select a format if necessary and tap the download button. The book will begin to download.


  • Once the title has downloaded, swipe from the left side of your screen and select Bookshelf
    • EPUB eBooks take only a moment; audiobooks take significantly longer. Connect to a WiFi network to save data for audiobooks
  • Tap on the title to read or listen

Option 3: Install Libby + Download an eBook

  • On your device, go to the appropriate app store and search for Libby; download and install this app
  • Alternatively, on your device, go to Libby’s website and choose the appropriate version for your device (iOS, Andriod, Microsoft); download and install the app

Authorize the app:

The process is very simple. The app itself will walk you through registering your card. If you want a trial run,  Libby’s website can walk you through the process. You’ll see an image of a smartphone with a button marked “TRY” at the bottom – click on the “TRY” and it’ll walk you through the process of registering your library card. You can register several cards and, within the app, switch between them.

Find and Borrow eBooks

  • After you've authorized Libby, you're good to go. Opening the app in the future, you'll be signed in and ready to search (or read or listen)
  • To search the collection, tap on the magnifying glass at the top and enter whatever you're looking for
  • To browse the collection, tap on Explore. From here you can browse the collection is many ways, including by new or popular titles.
  • Once you find a title you're interested in, if it is available if will "Borrow", if it is checked out you'll be given the option to "Place Hold"
  • You can download a title after checking out by tapping "Read Book".
  • You can also set up Libby to automatically download all titles. Tap the head at the top right of the screen, the tap "Set Up Libby". From there "Choose Download Behaviour". You will then be able to set up Libby to automatically download titles. At the same place there is the option to limit automatic downloads to wi-fi - a good idea if you check things out on the go

Some Simple Tricks to Navigating Libby

  • If you get a little lost, tapping "Library" at the bottom left will return you to the main Libby page
  • To see what you have checked out, tap "Shelf" on the bottom right of the screen
  • If you can't see these options, you may just need to get out of the screen you're currently on - check for "Hide" at the upper right


Other Things You Can Do...

Other Things You Can Do...

View Only Items that are Currently Available

To determine at a glance which titles are available, look at the open book icon in the top right corner of the eBook cover:

  • Dark Grey icon means that the title is available to be borrowed
  • Pale Grey icon means that all copies of the title are currently checked out

When browsing by genre or format, it is possible to hide all items that are currently checked out - look for the blue box on the left side of the screen that says Show me only titles with copies available.


Place Holds on eBooks that are Checked Out

If all copies of a title are in use, you can place a hold:

  • Select the eBook cover you are interested in, then click the ‘Place a Hold’ button
  • Sign in to your VPL to Go account with your library card number and PIN - Note: this is a separate account from My VPL where you would manage your library account for both physical and eBook/eAudiobook materials
  • Enter or confirm your email address to receive notification
  • When the title becomes available, you will receive an email notice
  • You will have 72 hours from the time the email was sent to check out the eBook. (Alternatively, when placing the hold you can select an option to have the book checked out to you automatically as soon as it becomes available.)
  • If you do not check it out within 72 hours, it will go to the next person on the list
  • You can have a maximum of 10 holds at once

Check the Status of Your Holds

Sign in to your VPL to Go account with your library card number and PIN - Note: this is a separate account from My VPL where you would manage your library account for both physical and eBook/eAudiobook materials.

  • Tap on Account in the top right of the screen
  • Select Holds from the menu on the right
  • You will be able to see your position in the queue
  • You can also cancel the hold from this menu or change the email address for notification

Place an Advanced Hold (Renew Titles)

Not finished with your eBook or downloadbale audiobook? Click on the Renew icon to place an advance hold on titles you currently have checked out. Renewing puts you in line to borrow a title again once your first checkout expires.

The option to renew a title becomes available three days before the title is set to expire, appearing next to the title on your Bookshelf in your VPL to Go account. You can only use the renew feature once for each checkout.

How to Place an Advanced Hold

1. Log into VPL to Go and sign in to your Account

2. Go to your Bookshelf, select the Renew icon next to the title you'd like to renew - Note: This option does not appear until three days before the title is supposed to expire

If there are no existing holds on a title, the Renew icon will be green (see example below). You can borrow this title again immediately once your first checkout expires - Note: you will need to re-download the eBook.

If there are existing holds on a title, the Renew icon will be greyed out (see example below). You can still use the renew feature to reserve a spot on the title's wait list so you can borrow it again as soon as it's available.

3. Enter and confirm your email address in the renewal form, and click the Renew icon - the Renew icon on your Bookshelf will now have a green checkmark next to it (see example below).

Return Titles Before the Expiry Date

eBooks and downloadable audiobooks are returned automatically after their lending period has expired. When a title expires, you can simply delete the expired book from your device. For information on returning a title before the expiry date, please visit How to return titles before the end of your lending period.

Two exceptions:

  • OverDrive for Mac does not currently support the return feature
  • Downloaded Open EPUBs can only be returned from OverDrive's app for Android, Chromebook, iOS, or Windows 8
  Open EPUB & Open PDF
  OverDrive Read