Returning OverDrive eBooks & MP3 Audiobooks early

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Returning OverDrive eBooks & MP3 Audiobooks early.
Updated for Audiobooks downloaded using Apps!

This is optional since books will automatically go off your OverDrive account when your loan period ends - no risk of late fees. But since you are limited to having 6 OverDrive items checked out at a time, this can be a very useful trick to know and it is also a neighborly thing to do to help others get items they are waiting for sooner. A classic win/win scenario!

But keep in mind that OverDrive does not allow you to change formats once an item is checked out. For instance, returning a Kindle book checked out by mistake won't enable you to re-download the title as an ePub book right away unless there is no waiting list for that title.

For Kindle:

It's all done on Amazon's Manage Your Kindle page.

Returning Kindle books early

For Nook, Sony Reader, and other devices that use Adobe Digital Editions:

  1. Open the Adobe Digital Editions program on your computer.
  2. In the upper left corner, select the Library View icon which looks like three books.
  3. Below, under the Bookshelves heading, select Borrowed.
  4. Click the eBook you want to return.
  5. Click the Item Options arrow (in the upper left corner of the selected eBook).
  6. Select Return Borrowed Item. Selecting Delete Item will not return the item, but selecting Return Borrowed Item will both delete and return the item.
  7. Click Return to verify that you want to return the title.

    That's all it takes! The eBook is returned to the library collection for others to enjoy and you've opened up a download slot in your OverDrive account.

Adobe Digital Editions

For Tablet & Smartphone Apps (now includes returning MP3 Audiobooks!):

OverDrive Media Console apps for tablets and smartphones have recently added this capability so if you read on an iPad, Android Tablet, or anything else that downloads eBooks or Audiobooks directly to the device, you will want to update your app to version 2.4 or higher to enable these features.

OverDrive App

Device-specific instructions:

For MP3 Audiobooks downloaded to Windows computers

If you finish an MP3 audiobook early, you can return it before the end of the lending period using OverDrive Media Console (OMC). Note: Only MP3 audiobooks downloaded after you update the OverDrive Media Console to v3.2.2.0 will have the return option. This option is not yet part of the OverDrive Media Console for Apple computers.

Note: Due to OverDrive publisher agreements, WMA titles cannot be returned before the lending period is up.

  1. Select the title you would like to return in OMC. You can select more than one audiobook by holding down Ctrl and clicking on each title.

    Screenshot of OverDrive Media Console with one audiobook selected.

  2. Click the Delete button to display the return and delete options.

    Screenshot of the Delete button.

  3. Click Return/Delete to both return the MP3 audiobook and delete it from your computer. If you click Delete instead, the title will be removed from your computer but not returned to the library, remaining on your OverDrive account.

    Screenshot showing the return and delete dialog.

For WMA Audiobooks:

OverDrive hasn't yet provided a way to return these materials early, so unfortunately they stay on your account until their loan period is over and they are automatically returned. To keep from running into the 6 item limit, here are three suggestions:

  1. Select shorter loan periods. For Audiobooks you can choose 1, 2, or 3 weeks.
  2. Pick Downloadble Audiobooks more carefully by listening to the online previews that many titles feature. You'll quickly learn whether the title is engaging and if you like the narrator or he or she makes you grit your teeth every time they begin talking!
  3. Avoid getting Audiobooks by mistake if you want an eBook to read. Take careful note of the format of the book you've selected before checking it out. Otherwise you might end up with an unwanted and un-returnable Audiobook or an eBook with the wrong format on your account until its due date.

I hope you find these tips and learning how to "check in" eBooks useful. Please let me know in the comments below if you do or if you have additional questions! Happy reading (and many happy returns!)


Gail & PAR, Here's a page from OverDrive that explains the process — It mentions that only MP3 audiobooks can be returned early (WMA format cannot) and that only MP3 audiobooks downloaded *after* installing the update will have that option. Hope that helps!
Thank you! I just tried it with an MP3 audiobook and it worked great. Gail
I saw the same thing and after the update I looked in help and on line and the updated console has no links or mention in the help for returning books early. A web search came up with one page - but once I clicked on it, it was blank.
I just downloaded the newest Overdrive console to my computer this morning and I saw a message that there was now a way to return audiobooks early. I was in a hurry and didn't read the whole message. Now I'm looking for how to do this and I can't find anything on the newest console about returning items early. Did I misread it? Thanks for your time. Gail