Introducing OverDrive Magazines!

By Jamie B. RSS Fri, March 19, 2021

In August, we announced big changes on the horizon now that OverDrive has acquired the RBdigital platform. If you remember, RBdigital audiobooks moved to our OverDrive platform. Now comes the second and final change: RBdigital magazines have moved to the OverDrive platform. On March 31, 2021, the RBdigital website and application will be retired.

What does this mean for our users? One of the biggest changes is that now, instead of 100 digital magazines, OverDrive users will have access to over 3,300 magazine titles in over 20 languages, including English, Spanish, French, Chinese, Arabic, Russian, and Japanese! As with RBdigital, OverDrive magazines are available instantaneously, with no wait time—ever. OverDrive magazine checkouts are unlimited and do not count against your OverDrive checkout limit of 6 items at a time. 

If you are a current RBdigital or OverDrive user, please read the answers to our Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs) below to learn how this change will affect you.

Why are RBdigital magazines moving to OverDrive?
OverDrive has acquired RBmedia’s library business, RBdigital. This means that magazines from RBdigital have been transferred to the OverDrive platform. 


Where can I find OverDrive Magazines?
You may now access digital magazine titles through the OverDrive website, under Collections in the section labeled Special. You can also checkout Overdrive Magazines using the classic OverDrive app and the newer Libby app. A direct link to OverDrive Magazines is available on our Digital Media portal at freelibrary.org/digitalmedia. After March 31, Free Library magazines will no longer be available through the RBdigital platform and app.


What is the lending period for digital magazines through OverDrive?
Digital magazines are available for a 14-day loan period.


Can I renew digital magazines?
Yes. You have the option to renew a magazine within 3 days of the end of the lending period. Since magazine use is instantaneous and unlimited, you may borrow the magazine again at any time.


Do magazines count against my checkout limits?
No. Magazines do not count toward checkout limits.


Does OverDrive have a magazine reader similar to the one available on the RBdigital platform?
Libby offers a special article and thumbnail view for magazine titles.


Does the Libby app work with screen readers?
No. Currently, Libby does not have text-to-speech functionality for magazines, though they are working on this feature for future development. You can read more about OverDrive and Accessibility on their website.


Does the magazine reader on my library’s OverDrive website and in the OverDrive app include the article view feature?
No. Currently, the article view feature is only available via Libby.


Have all the Free Library’s previous magazine subscriptions migrated from RBdigital?
No. The following magazines from our RBdigital subscription are no longer available via OverDrive:

  • American Art Collector
  • Digital Photo Pro (now defunct)
  • Earth Magazine (now defunct)
  • ESPN (now defunct)
  • People Magazine South Africa
  • Weight Watchers (now defunct)


Can I see a full list of the OverDrive Magazines list?
You can access a list of titles online. You may also navigate to the full list of titles via our OverDrive Magazines page, by clicking Subjects and then See all 3,338 titles.


If you’re new to OverDrive, visit freelibrary.org/digitalmedia to access our OverDrive collections, check out this getting started guide, or watch these videos to learn more:


If you need more support, Free Library staff are available by email, chat, and phone.

Feel free to ask a question or add a comment below!


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Hi, can we set up a notification for the new magazine issues available via overdrive for magazines we frequently borrow similar to the email notifications we receive for rb digital magazines? Thank you.
Sandra M - PHILADELPHIA
Sunday, March 28, 2021

Yes, will there be an option to receive a notification when new magazine issues arrive?
Candice Williams-Carter - Philadelphia
Monday, March 29, 2021

Using Libby, you can! Hit 'Manage Loan' and add a tag (Smart Tag > notify, or 'Notify Me') https://help.libbyapp.com/en-us/6224.htm#aanchor96
Bruce J - N. Central Philadelphia
Saturday, April 3, 2021