I was adding a book to my Overdrive Holds list at my library yesterday and stumbled across a new feature: auto checkout. Curious, I went to the Overdrive site to learn more.

Overdrive auto checkout

According to Overdrive, when you sign up for auto checkout, you’ll receive an email when your book is ready and automatically checked out. I haven’t had a chance to try it, but I assume you’ll then go to your account and select the format you prefer from the borrow menu.

I’m excited about the option because it address a concern of mine. We camp several time a year with little to no access to an Internet connection. When I have library books on hold, I’m concerned a book will become available while we’re gone, but that the four day grace period will have expired by the time we get home. It looks like auto checkout will solve that problem and will mean I don’t have to plan a trip outside the park to check and see if any books are available.

It’s an opt-in process, if you’d prefer not to have it, and you can opt-in on a book by book basis, if that were important for some reason.

Go Overdrive. It’s a small upgrade, but I like it.


  1. The have also added the option to “suspend” a hold.

    Imagine that you are going to be away for several weeks. You could suspend your holds for the number of days that you will be away.

    If you don’t get to the top of the hold list while you are away, then the suspension has no real effect.

    If you do get to the top of the hold list during the suspension period, they will skip over you and will lend the book to the next person on the list. Once the suspension period ends, your hold becomes active again, and in this case you would be number one on the hold list for that book. You would, therefore, get the book as soon as it was checked back into the library.

    • @Gary, I never noticed the suspend hold option. Could have been using that all along. 🙁 For the week long trips we take, I’ll use auto checkout, but for longer trips, suspend is the way to go.

  2. I think this is horrible. Nobody ever returns books until they expire, so if you’re on a long waitlist it will now take a REALLY long time to get books. Before auto-checkout, at least if somebody didn’t go through the trouble of checking out the book, you got bumped up in the waitlist.

    • @Jim, what library are you using? This hasn’t been my experience at the Fairfax County Library. I’ve been surprised at how often there are several people ahead of me and a book becomes available the next day.

  3. I have a couple of library accounts. I’m speaking only anecdotally so far – I haven’t gotten off a hold list since auto-checkouts went into effect and it seems like I’m moving slower than I used to. I try to return my books when I’m done, but I suspect most people don’t since it isn’t always easy (with Amazon, at least).

  4. Can someone please explain how this new feature works? I am totally confused. Do I have it on or off? Which is better? What are the advantages/disadvantages for each one? Overdrives explanation was no help. Thanks.

  5. Norm, it may be risky to tell you exactly how to check this because, I believe, different libraries may customize the Overdrive interface differnetly. For me, when I put a book on Hold, there is a checkbox to “automatically borrow this title when it becomes available”. When I list books that I already have on Hold, there is a line stating whether I have this on or not, and an “edit” link allowing me to change it.


    Should you have it on of off? I think it depends on how often you check your email.
    If you have sometimes missed the notice that a book on hold is available or not seen it until the 2-3 day period has passed in which to check out an available book, then you might be better of with automatic checkut “on” so that you get that longer period in which to notice that you have a book.
    On the other hand, if you are a compulsive email checker (like me) who is unlikely to miss the notice for even one day, then this might not matter.
    If you tend to adjust the 7/14/21 day checkout for different checkouts depending on your schedule and how deep you are into reading something else, then having auto-checkout on might be annoying because it will always use your default check-out period.

  6. Thank you so much, Steve, for your quick response. I use the LAPL, Los Angeles Public Library system. I have been using Overdrive with them for quite a while now and am enjoying it a lot. Hard to get out these days to go to the library so this is a godsend.

    I am like you. I check my emails daily and never miss a notice from the LAPL. So I will turn off the automatic checkout.

    Thank you once again,


  7. One thing remains unclear to me about the auto-checkout feature. Specifically, does the “clock” on the lending period begin to count down from the point that the title has been checked out? So, say in the case of Juli, who might happen to be away camping, if a book is checked out using the auto-checkout feature and you only get home three days later, does this mean that three days have already elapsed on the lending period? Sorry if this has been asked already. I did check, but I might just be confused, lol.

    Also, Norm, if it’s any consolation, I am an absolute nut about returning by stuff as soon as I’ve finished with it – often way before the lending period is up. I don’t like to be the reason that people are having to wait any longer than they have to.

    • @Kelly, yes, if you use auto-checkout and you get home three days later, you will lose those three days. I read fast enough, and my library has a 21 day checkout period, so it wouldn’t be a problem for me. Unless I was checking out a Wheel of Time-length tome.