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Kobo & Overdrive – What We Know So Far

P1040434In addition to a night-reading mode, what sets the newly launched Kobo Aura One apart from other ereaders is the way it supports library ebooks.

The Aura One features close integration with Overdrive, the library ebook vendor bought by Rakuten last spring. There are no first-hand reports yet, and I am still waiting for Kobo and OverDrive to get back to me with answers to my questions, but here’s what we know so far.

  • the Aura One is running firmware 3.20.7280
  • no other Kobo ereader has this firmware, and it’s not mentioned on their product listings
  • the feature only works in US, UK, Canada, NZ, and Australia

The way this is supposed to work is that once you have entered your Overdrive info in the settings menu, you can simply search the Kobo store on the Aura One and the ebooks you see will list their price as well as whether they are available to be checked out of your library.

You can check out an ebook on the Aura One, and you can also place a hold for an ebook. Any borrowed book will indicate how long until the library loan expires. This detail is displayed when you put the Aura One to sleep.

I use the word "supposed" because this feature does not work yet.

My Aura One came with an OD account set up, but I couldn’t find any ebooks to borrow. There’s no way to filter for this option when browsing the Kobo store on the Aura One, and there’s no way to just browse your library’s ebook catalog.

Since I couldn’t find any ebooks,  I went into the settings menu, logged out of OverDrive, and tried to enter my account. This didn’t work. The Aura One wouldn’t accept my info, and with good reason.

It turns out that the feature is not yet live. I’ve just been told by Kobo that the software is a demo, "a high-level overview of Library Lending (the feature is not yet live). When the device launches in September, you will be able to add your library card and borrow then."

In other words there’s not much I can say about this feature until Kobo turns it on sometime next month, but I won’t send you away empty handed.

The following four screenshots show you all the info the Aura One has on the is feature. Until we can pry a user manual out of Kobo, this is most of what we know about how this feature will work.


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poiboy August 18, 2016 um 2:31 pm

really good feature if it works.

Yeechang Lee August 18, 2016 um 5:01 pm

I hope the software will accept and remember more than one library’s credentials. Being able to search once across all five public libraries I have a card at is great.

Nate Hoffelder August 18, 2016 um 5:10 pm

I think that is handled from the Overdrive side of things. You can create an OD account, and tie it to several libraries.

Paul August 18, 2016 um 5:01 pm

That feature alone would make me re-consider all the Kindle purchases I’m making at the moment

Yeechang Lee August 18, 2016 um 5:04 pm

Also, is my understanding correct that this would be the first time ereader owners who are not Kindle users in the US will be able to borrow an ebook and have it delivered directly to their devices? (Heck, US Kindle users still need to use a separate Web browser/Overdrive app to borrow; this sounds simpler.)

Nate Hoffelder August 18, 2016 um 5:09 pm

Sony had a similar feature with the PRS-T1, T2, and T3.

Tarwin August 18, 2016 um 10:28 pm

The note integration on library books also sounds like a great feature if it works.

Muratcan Simsek August 19, 2016 um 1:36 am

My library in Turkey has many ebooks in Overdrive (mostly academic); so, I won’t be albe to use it here?

Chris August 19, 2016 um 3:34 am

That seems correct, at least for the moment. Kobo sell ereaders to the Turkish market, so I don’t know what prevents them from supporting Overdrive libraries there.

Chris August 19, 2016 um 6:33 am

Does anyone here know the over all dimensions of the aura one?

Nate Hoffelder August 19, 2016 um 6:57 am

According to the product page: 195.1 x 138.5 x 6.9 mm

Annielou August 19, 2016 um 12:28 pm

I still have the original aura 6″ and seriously thinking of buying this. The specs are great and overdrive built in really makes it a great device. I wonder if it has a flush screen like the aura with capacitive touch? That’s why I have never upgraded my aura as I love not having a sunken in screen. I wonder what the uk price will be and the release date?

Nate Hoffelder August 19, 2016 um 12:32 pm

I wonder if it has a flush screen like the aura with capacitive touch?

Yes, and yes.

The UK release date is 6 September. I think the price is 189 pounds.

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Valerie August 21, 2016 um 10:13 pm

Overdrive integration is the make or break feature for me. I’m waiting until someone confirms exactly how (if?) it works with a library vs. the Kobo bookstore before I pull the trigger. If I have access to all my library’s overdrive books in a semi-seamless manner, it’s my dream device. I refuse to use any device that I have to side load books onto. That’s why my Sony PRS-T2 is still my favored device.

Matt August 22, 2016 um 10:44 am

But the real question for me is whether this functionality will come to older devices – if it’s software-based, I would hope so, right? I don’t want to upgrade from my first generation Aura because I like the size, but I’d love to have this.

Andrew August 23, 2016 um 4:05 pm

I completely agree with Matt, I want to know if Kobo has any thoughts about pushing this down to other Kobo’s with a firmware upgrade. I love my Glo HD but am dying to integrate Onedrive.

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Bob McIntyre September 8, 2016 um 6:37 pm

My wife just got her Aura One (she had a basic Aura before) and she just used the Library feature> It worked like a charm. After searching for available books she selected one that was available both at her local library and at the Kobo store. It reserved the book from the local library and automatically transferred the book to her Ereader! She’s delighted that it worked exactly as advertised..

Kevin W September 8, 2016 um 7:40 pm

I just got my Kobo Aura One and the Overdrive feature works with one touch and syncs great for getting loaned library books. The setup was easy and the Kobo Aura One prompted me throughout the process of setting my Kobo with my library and even knew which library to sync with. Great job Kobo. I am looking forward to using this feature.

Tonya Anton September 13, 2016 um 10:34 am

So far, not impressed with the Overdrive feature. You can’t just browse the library books, you have to search for a particular book. I borrowed one, but don’t see it in my reader.

Nate Hoffelder September 13, 2016 um 11:03 am

I have found that it is easier to check books out by visiting the library website from my PC, and then telling my Aura One to sync.

The borrowed ebook shows up as a title which can be downloaded.

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