One of the big advantages of a Kobo e-reader 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 power libraries digital collections. Overdrive announced that it was discontinuing their app, which is old and clunky, and instead switching everyone to Libby, which is their latest generation app. The switch from Overdrive to Libby will not affect Kobo e-readers, since Kobo is using an API to fetch book listings, cover art and facilitate the download of books directly to your Kobo.
Many Kobo users have been very concerned about their Kobo losing the ability to download books on their e-reader, from Overdrive. In March, Overdrive discontinued their 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 and then all of the services will be shut off. Overdrive is encouraging users to upgrade to Libby, which is the new app they launched a couple of years ago. It has a better audiobook, ebook and magazine experience.
Libby is not currently available to download from the Amazon Appstore. OverDrive has requested information and a timeline for approval from Amazon but has not yet received an update. In the meantime, Kindle Fire users can stream ebooks, audiobooks, and magazines in their browser from libbyapp.com
What I like about the Libby app is being able to apply for a library card, right in the app. This is way better than visiting your branch, with a few bills and getting a card the old fashioned way. After all, most people just get their payment receipts sent to their email address and don’t even get physical paper anymore.
So just to be clear, Kobo e-readers will continue to use Overdrive library borrowing on their Kobo’s for the foreseeable future. Kobo has told me that they have no plans to discontinue Overdrive anytime soon, since it is a major selling point for people to buy their book readers.
Michael Kozlowski has written about audiobooks and e-readers for the past twelve years. Newspapers and websites such as the CBC, CNET, Engadget, Huffington Post and the New York Times have picked up his articles. He Lives in Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada.