OverDrive Developers

Getting Started with OverDrive APIs

OverDrive is the leading global distributor of eBooks, audiobooks, music and video to libraries, schools and retailers worldwide. OverDrive APIs allow third party applications to integrate OverDrive digital collections to discover and circulate digital media.

Here are some steps to help you get started with our APIs:

  • Read the rest of this page, exploring the OverDrive APIs below.
  • Read through the OverDrive API documentation.
  • Apply for a developer account, requesting access to specific a specific authorization level (Client, Granted, or Patron) based on the scope of your project.
  • If your application is approved, you'll be given a username for this site's Member Center and a client key with a shared secret to access the APIs approved for use with your project.
    Note: For Circulation APIs (Granted or Patron authorization required), you'll need to be granted access to an integration test environment before proceeding to a live production environment.
  • You will receive emails that include the username and client key for your account. 
  • You will receive emails to reset your password and client secret for your account.
    Note: We require users to reset credentials via this site to maintain account security. You'll never receive a password or client secret through email as an OverDrive developer partner. Instead, you'll be able to reset them from the Member Center.
  • Use our Library Finder to find the details for the digital collections your project is targeting.
  • If you'd like to use Circulation APIs (Granted or Patron authorization required), request access to our integration library as part of your testing phase. After launching with our integration library's digital collection, you'll need to request access to each new library for which you need access to our Circulation APIs. 
  • Keep an eye on our notice board (or add it to your RSS feed) for news, updates, and alerts.

Applying for OverDrive APIs

We review applications on a weekly basis.  Approval is based on your existing customer relationship with OverDrive (direct or indirect). Third party applicants must disclose the nature of their projects and identify specific OverDrive accounts that they would like to access with our APIs to gain approval.

When you apply, you'll need to select an authorization level. You can choose from Client, Granted, or Patron authentication. Here are a few guidelines that should help you pick the right one:

  • Client authentication gets you access to our Discovery APIs only. If you're only going to use the OverDrive APIs to search a collection, access title metadata, or retrieve availability information for specific titles, the Discovery APIs should suit your needs. This level of access does not allow you to let users place holds or borrow titles from an OverDrive digital collection. If you would like to use our integration test library (optional), you'll need to request access.
  • Granted authentication (also known as "Authorization Code Grant" or "3-Legged Authorization) gives you access to both our Discovery APIs and our Circulation APIs. This works just like Facebook or Google authentication for third party services. This authorization level lets users simply grant access to your app using the credentials they already have in place for their OverDrive digital collection. The advantage here is that you don't need to know their library card, student ID, or PIN. Once approved, you'll be granted access to our integration test environment to build your app.
  • Patron authentication also gets you access to the Discovery and Circulation APIs. To use this authorization type, you need to have access to your users' OverDrive digital collection credentials (a library card or student ID and sometimes a PIN). Once approved, you'll be granted access to our integration test environment to build your app.

All projects will be reviewed to confirm that they fall within the scope and permitted uses for OverDrive APIs.  Prior to gaining access, all applicants are required to accept the OverDrive API Terms and Conditions.

Once we receive your application, we will send an email confirming that we got it. After we've completed our review, you'll receive another email with our decision. Approved applicants will receive the credentials needed to access our APIs.

API Integration Testing Environment

Once you've been approved for Granted or Patron authentication (which includes access to all of our APIs), you'll be able to use our integration environment to develop your app. This test environment is designed to allow you to build your app safely, without interfering with a live digital collection. The integration environment includes real titles, and works just like your target digital collection.

When you're ready to get started, request access to the test digital library collection.  We'll configure your authentication type based on the requirements for your project, get you a website ID (if you're using Patron authentication), and then let you get to work.

Base Circulation API integration URL: https://integration-patron.api.overdrive.com
Base Discovery API integration URL: https://integration.api.overdrive.com

Once you've built your app, and it works in the integration environment, you can request access to the production library or libraries for which you are developing. We'll review your status, and enable access to the live, production environment once your project is approved.

Note: If you're using Patron authentication, you'll also need to request a website ID for the collection you plan on accessing. You can ask for a website ID here.

Our guidelines for production access

Once you receive access to OverDrive's Circulation APIs and build your website or app against the API integration testing library, you'll need to request access to integrate with production (live) digital collections. Here's a general set of requirements that we use when reviewing your product. Every product using OverDrive APIs is expected to:

  1. Provide search, filtering, faceting, and views to easily find and sort OverDrive content.
  2. Promote the OverDrive app in your product.
  3. Allow users to open or download OverDrive content, if borrowing is allowed.
  4. Display accurate metadata, including covers, for all OverDrive content.
  5. Display the OverDrive name and/or logo when and where OverDrive content is shown.
  6. Use OverDrive streaming samples wherever possible for OverDrive content, if sampling is allowed. For example, open a sample eBook using OverDrive Read.
  7. Demonstrate support for OverDrive Advantage accounts.
  8. Accurately and securely authenticate users (if borrowing is allowed) and maximize the content available to them.

OverDrive APIs

The following APIs are currently available to approved OverDrive Developer partners.

Discovery APIs (Client, Granted, and Patron authentication):

Library Account API

The Library Account API delivers a link for all products in a library collection, along with general information about the account, including available formats and OverDrive Advantage collections.

Retailer Account API

The Retailer Account API delivers a products link for a specified retailer account, along with general information about the account, including available formats.

Search API

The Search API delivers a list of the products in a digital media collection. It can list all products or a subset of relevant and matching products for a specified query in a paginated format.

Metadata API

The Metadata API delivers detailed metadata for a specified product, including author, title, genre, synopses, reviews, and more.

Library Availability API

The Library Availability API delivers availability and hold information for a product in a specified library collection, including the number of copies of a title owned by a library, the number of holds currently placed for that title, and whether or not the title is currently available for checkout.

Circulation APIs (Granted and Patron authentication):

Patron Information API

The Patron Information API is the endpoint to hit for patron specific information, and provides hypermedia links to the checkouts and holds endpoints.

Checkouts API

The Checkouts API is your path to borrowing, returning, and checking the status of titles.

Holds API

The Holds API is used to manage and place holds for a specific patron.

Downloads API

The Downloads API allows you to send a GET request to our fulfillment servers. The response includes a contentlink that allows you to download the title itself.