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How to Keep Overdrive Audiobooks Forever

If you’re like me, you love reading. And I mean, I LOOOOOVVVVEEEE reading. Though, like so many of us, I don’t have the time to get through everything I want to read. So I do most of my reading through audiobooks.

Overdrive is a service that I use on the reg. It’s a fantastic way to get what I need for free, and without too much hassle. All you need is a library card. Unfortunately, the time that they give me to listen to my audiobook is usually not enough, so that led me to wonder…

How could I keep my Overdrive books for longer, or even forever?

So I dug a bit deeper and found there were three good methods to do this.

  1. The Renew Option
  2. The Airplane Mode Option
  3. The Sideload Option

Unfortunately, none of these options was a complete solution to my problem, so that is why I end with an alternative recommendation to Overdrive. Stay tuned for that.

But let’s dig deep into each of these options.

The Renew Option

The first, and most obvious solution to extending Overdrive services for longer, is to renew the book.

Now, this only works if someone else doesn’t already have a hold on the book in the Overdrive app or Libby app (there’s two of them for some reason).

Sadly, if you’ve checked out a popular book, then it’s highly likely that someone else will have a hold, and you won’t be able to renew the book after your 21-day period has ended.

That said, this is a great way to keep your Overdrive audio book for much longer, assuming the odds are ever in your favor.

The Airplane Mode Option

So let’s say that renewing your library book is not an option. What should you do next?

Enter the Airplane Mode method.

Now, this method does have some disadvantages, which I’ll get to in a minute, but it is a good way to keep your audiobooks on your devices for as long as you’re comfortable doing so.

All you have to do is download the book onto your device, then remove that device’s access to the Internet.

Once you’ve done that, even if your time expires, you will not lose the book because your device has to be connected to the Internet in order for Overdrive to retrieve the audiobook from you.

That said, there are some problems with this.

The obvious issue is that you won’t have access to the Internet for as long as you keep your device in airplane mode.

Seeing as most of us use our devices for pretty much everything, it doesn’t really make sense to do this, unless you’re really desperate, or have a separate device that you don’t use for many things, other than listening to audiobooks.

Which brings me to my third and most recommended option.

The Sideload Option

If you download Overdrive’s app for PC or Mac from the respective app store or the Overdrive website, you can download an mp3 audiobook for use on your computer. Here are some instructions on how to do this.

The next step is to get your hands on an mp3 player. I recommend a cheap but efficient option. You could, technically, do this on an iPhone, iPod, iPad, Kindle Fire, or other Kindle device but personally I like having a dedicated device for this sort of thing. Here is my recommended option:

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The audio is not as great as, say, an WMA audiobook, but the mp3 format is definitely the way to go here.

Once you’ve transferred the mp3 files to your device, you’ll be able to keep that digital content on that device forever, even if it’s left your Overdrive library in your Windows app.

As far as I’m aware, this is the best method to have multiple audiobook files on one device at a time, and still be able to upload new books even after the old ones have expired.

For example, if you were trying to use the airplane mode method to keep your books, you would not be able to add more books, since…well, you don’t have Internet access.

This is fine if you only listen to one audiobook at a time, but I’m a girl who likes to have 3-4 books going at once, depending on my mood. So it’s handy for me to have a way to upload a new book when I’m ready for it, and not just when I finish the old ones.

I can do this with the sideload method.

As long as there’s space on my mp3 or mobile device, I can add as many books as I want, using the Overdrive app on Windows and a USB cable. And that works great for me.

Try Audible Also

Overdrive is great, but to be honest, there’s not any legal way to really hang onto your books forever. This is due, primarily to the DRM protection that Overdrive keeps on its books.

Which makes sense, right? Overdrive is not a place to get free audiobooks forever.

So, what are some good alternatives.

Frankly, my recommendation is Audible.

Now here me out! I know Audible costs money, and in some cases a lot of money. So I’m not suggesting you substitute one for the other. I think you should use both.

Here’s how I do it.

I use Overdrive to discover new books I might like. If I find one that,

  1. I really loved but didn’t get a chance to finish it before the return date, OR
  2. I loved it enough to want to listen to it again

That’s when I go to Audible and use one of my credits to buy it. That way, my audiobook library is full of only the best books, the ones I like the most.

The biggest advantage of this method is that each Audible audiobook you purchase with credits remains yours for life, even if you stop subscribing to their service.

And anything you pick up with their Audible Plus catalog will remain until you leave the service.

This is honestly a huge plus for Audible (no pun intended). I like knowing that the books I get from this service will never be difficult for me to find again. I will always have them in my library, and I can use them on pretty much every device.

There are a couple of options if you want to pursue Audible.

1) Audible Plus

This is their cheapest option which basically acts like a subscription service for a HUGE library of books. If you’re just looking for something to read, and not necessarily something from recent bestsellers, this is your option.

It’s also cheaper than most streaming services, and they definitely have enough of all genres to keep you happy.

2) Audible Premium Plus

With this option, you get everything from Audible plus, plus a monthly credit to spend on a book of your choice. It can be any book, even if not on the Plus catalog.

It’s a bit expensive, but worth it in my opinion. For a bit more, you can even get more credits per month or year, which are the cheapest ways to get each book, though they can cost more in the short run.

Final Thoughts

So there you have it, my favorite ways to keep ahold of Overdrive audiobooks for longer, and my chosen alternative for ways to keep audiobooks permanently.

I’m curious to hear your thoughts, so sound off below, and let me know if this helped, or if there’s another way I haven’t found in my research.



2 thoughts on “How to Keep Overdrive Audiobooks Forever”

  1. persona incognitae lectricis

    Note that the Overdrive app is no longer offered on the current version of their website. To get it in Windows you need to go to an earlier archived copy of the app download page at and click the “Download for Windows Desktop” button at the bottom; this will let you download (from ) an archived copy of the installer which will (albeit slowly) install the Overdrive App on your computer. I’m not sure if the “Available for Mac” link works, though since it appears to lead to another installer file I’d guess it does; the “Download for Windows 8 & 10” link just takes you to the Windows Store, which also doesn’t work. (Note that this is as of October 2022; if the installation depends on interacting with some feature of the Overdrive website that they might disable in the future, it may break.)

  2. Jack Lindsay

    As of February 2023, all the libraries that let you use the legacy Overdrive app to download (and keep forever) audiobooks are switching over to Libby. But there’s an easy way for Mac users to create MP3 files using Libby:

    Get the Audio Hijack app or any other app that lets you record computer audio. I’ve only tried it with Audio Hijack but I’m sure there must be others for Mac and PCs too. Open up the Libby app on your computer, which will let you listen to it on the computer. Start a new recording that captures system audio. Start the recorder (in this case, Audio Hijack’s System Audio capture) and then just turn on the Libby reader and let it run for the duration of the audiobook. I use an old computer so the process won’t interfere with my other work. I can turn the volume all the way down so it just records silently. The volume of the computer speakers is inconsequential, the recording of the MP3 that you’ll get is going to have a constant volume. Audio Hijack’s interface shows you an equalizer bar so that you can see that the sound is recording, and it shows you how much time has elapsed and how big the file is at any time. It looks like it uses about 40MB or so per hour of recording. When finished just go name the file and, if you wish, convert the mp3 to an m4b if that’s your preferred format using a program like Audiobook Binder. You’ll now have a file that you can keep, and you can “return” your audiobook early to the library so other people won’t have to needlessly wait.

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