How to Keep Overdrive Audiobooks For Longer?

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I don’t know about you, but ever since I found out about Overdrive, I’ve been hooked. I love the fact that you can borrow digital audiobooks from your library at no cost, anytime, and anywhere. It saves me a fortune in audiobook subscription costs, and I know I’m supporting my local library too, which is a huge bonus. 

But just like a regular library book, audiobooks that you borrow from Overdrive have a limited loan period. The amount of time you can keep an audiobook depends on your library, but there are generally 7 day, 14 day, and 21 day loan periods available, and you get to choose which one you’d prefer depending on how long you think you’ll need. 

But here’s the kicker; no matter how good my intentions are about getting my audiobook finished before the deadline, I often run out of time. Those notifications start arriving in my inbox, reminding me that it’s almost time to return the audiobook, but I’m only halfway through. It usually seems to happen when I’m really enjoying a book, too, making it even harder to return it without finishing it. Sure, I could wait for it to become available again in a few weeks from now, but by then, I’ll have forgotten what’s going on in the plot, and I’ll have to start from the beginning all over again! 

But there are a couple of ways to extend the time you keep Overdrive audiobooks for, so you can get the most out of them and not feel rushed. 

Renewing Your Overdrive Audiobooks

If you’re at the end of your lending period and you’re not finished with your audiobook, the first thing you can try is the “Renew” option. This is simple; just like at a regular library, you can choose to renew your book and extend the lending period, as long as no one else has a hold on the title. 

Simply head over to your Account section and open the Checkouts page. The Renew option becomes available on Overdrive three days prior to the lending period’s expiry date and will appear next to each title on your list. The only problem is if a title has a hold on it by another Overdrive user, you won’t be able to renew it. You’ll have to request it again as a new loan and wait until it becomes available. 

It’s also worth noting that not all libraries offer the Renew feature. This is especially true if your library is small with a lot of readers that are already signed up. Since there’s more demand, there are fewer audiobooks to go around, and so they’re less likely to offer renewals.

The Airplane Mode Method

If you can’t renew your Overdrive audiobook because it’s on hold or your library doesn’t offer that service, then there is another way that you can extend the time you have with your borrowed audiobook. I like to call this the Airplane Mode Method. 

Overdrive needs your device to be connected to the internet to retrieve a book from you. But when you put your device into airplane mode, this cuts off the internet connection, meaning that you get to keep the downloaded audiobook for longer. 

And if this all feels a little unfair, don’t worry; if anyone else has a hold on the audiobook your listening to, they still get access to it straight away, even if you haven’t technically returned your copy yet. In other words, everybody wins. 

There are, of course, some obvious downsides to the Airplane Mode Method. As I just discussed, when you place your device into airplane mode, it cuts off all internet access. That means no apps, no social media, no video calls, and no group chats either. If you use your phone as your audiobook listening device, this isn’t really practical. Nowadays, we all use our phones for much more than just phone calls and texts, and shutting off these features just so that you can keep an audiobook for longer isn’t really practical. 

The same can be said for tablets too. If you use your tablet for regular online activities as well as listening to downloaded audiobooks and reading e-books, then the Airplane Mode Method can only work for so long. As soon as you turn off airplane mode and connect to the internet again, Overdrive will send you a notification, and the Overdrive audiobook will automatically be wiped from your downloads. 

The Airplane Mode Method works best when it’s used on dedicated e-readers, like a Kindle, or a Kobo, or any e-reader that supports audiobook formats. Since these devices are specifically used for reading, they don’t usually rely on an internet connection as much as a phone or tablet does. Going into airplane mode for a few days shouldn’t pose much of a problem, as long as you can access the internet through other devices. 

Another potential downside to this method is that when your device is in airplane mode, you can’t download any more audiobooks or e-books to your Overdrive library, at least not until you turn on your internet again. So essentially, you have to finish the book you’re enjoying before you can browse and select any more. 

Personally, I like to read one book at a time, so this isn’t much of an issue for me. But I know many avid readers tend to have several books on the go at once, so the Airplane Mode Method doesn’t work so well for them. 

What Happens When I Finish my Overdrive Audiobook?

As soon as you turn off airplane mode and your device is reconnected to the internet, your previous audiobook will be automatically returned to the Overdrive library. Like I mentioned earlier, even if you’ve used the Airplane Mode Method to keep the book past its due date, thankfully, you’re not delaying anyone else from reading that title. If someone else had a hold on the same audiobook, they get it as soon as the original lending period comes to an end. This applies to e-books, too. 

Pay it Forward

So there are ways to keep Overdrive audiobooks for a little longer if you’re not quite finished with them before they’re due. But what about those times that you finish audiobooks before their due date? In this case, you can pay it forward to other Overdrive members by returning your audiobooks early. If other people are waiting to listen, they can get started straight away, rather than waiting for the full lending period to expire. 

To return an audiobook early, head over to the desktop app and right click on the chosen title. Click ‘delete’ and then select ‘return/delete’. 


If you struggle to finish your Overdrive audiobooks before they expire, there’s no need to panic; simply renew your chosen title, or use the Airplane Mode Method to win some extra time. 

And don’t forget, as much as we all love free audiobooks from Overdrive, if you really want to take your time listening to a title, it might be better to consider buying it from places like Audible,, or Libro.FM. That way, you get to keep it forever and support the author too! 

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