Hands-On with the Kindle Fire and Overdrive

12/27/12 UPDATE:

There is now an Overdrive app available for the Kindle Fire and Fire HD through the Amazon app store!

We got our library Kindle Fire tablet this morning and here’s how it works for downloading the Overdrive library ebooks:

Major Points:

1. So far, there is no Overdrive app to use. Not sure if Amazon will be adding one to the app store or not but stay tuned for more info.

2. When going to the Overdrive website for our particular library cooperative, the Silk browser does not currently redirect to the mobile site and when I took myself to the mobile site I discovered that it didn’t work in the Silk browser. This is a major issue, since the screen is small, at 7 inches, and the regular, non-mobile Overdrive website is clunky at best and is an absolute nightmare on a small screen.

Essentially, going to the Overdrive site on the Fire is the same as doing it on your computer. You will login to our Overdrive site, you shop for your books, check them out, then select “Get for Kindle”, which takes you out to Amazon to finish the transaction and send it to the Fire.

*In order to access your download you must sync your Fire tablet.

So no major breakthrough here without an app, but I expect to find one in the app store in the future. Although I have been wrong before….

And my opinion on the Fire in general? Thanks for asking! I think the apps loaded pretty fast (I played a round of Angry Birds, took a look at a fitness app, read a book, checked IMDB) and the browser is pretty quick, considering the Fire is no iPad killer. I used Yahoo email to check (because that’s a slow loader at the best of times) and the Amazon Silk browser handled it well…better than my 2 year old XP laptop does. I  watched a minute or two of a movie and checked out a t.v. show. The volume is very low so I recommend headphones or a set of portable speakers, but the image quality was very good and it streamed beautifully.

I’ve already found a couple of Android apps that will not work with the Fire (Overdrive is one, Zinio magazine app is another) so I’m not sure of the breadth of apps that will be available for this.

OVERALL: I’m not happy with the way it currently handles Overdrive, this device is not for people who actually NEED a tablet, it’s more like an enhanced ereader that let’s you stream movies and listen to  music. Stick with the iPad or an actual Android tablet (like the Samsung Galaxy, etc.) if you want more. And if you are looking for an ereader that works nearly seamlessly with Overdrive and without all the bells and whistles, consider the Sony Wifi Reader, which I review in another blog post.

-contributed by staffer Shannon Baker


  1. For the Kindle Fire just download the Dolphin browser to make it easy to use the library webpage to download a book. My website is snrtech.org.

    • If people want to allow third party apps to run on their Kindle Fire and if they are savvy enough to download the Dolphin browser then this is an alternative solution. I just want to state that people allow third party apps to run at their own risk and want to be careful of permanently allowing all third party apps, since some apps can be malicious.

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