Articles of Interest: Penguin, OverDrive, and libraries

It’s been coming for months.  Today Penguin announced it has ended its relationship with OverDrive.  Starting tomorrow, it will no longer sell e-books and audiobooks to OverDrive for library lending.  Interestingly, ALA and Big Six publishers met last week to discuss library e-book lending.  In an article in, Laura Hazard Owen points out ALA’s concern about statements publishers made regarding “friction.”  Publishers felt a degree of friction existed with physical book checkout – involving 2 trips to the library.  They felt the online availability would alter the friction calculation.  My response to that….clearly they have never tried to download an e-book from the public library.  According to Library Journal’s patron profiles, 23% of ebook patrons reported being unsuccessful in borrowing ebooks because of technical difficulty, while almost 44% could not do so because of title unavailability.”  That’s a lot of friction.

Here are some articles with more of the story:

Penguin ends E-book Library Lending and Relationship with OverDrive,

Penguin Group Terminating Its Contract with OverDrive, The Digital Shift

Penguin Unfriends Libraries, Agnostic Maybe

Penguin Cuts Off All Library Ebooks, The Digital Reader

And others added after the original post:

ALA, Author’s Guild, and 3M weigh in on Penguin-OverDrive Dispute, The Digital Shift

E-Book Lending Library Rises, Publishing Industry Grapples with Change – Digital Book World

2 thoughts on “Articles of Interest: Penguin, OverDrive, and libraries”

  1. Are there other sources where I could read more about this friction issue? I saw the topic blow up on Twitter. Anything first-hand or close to first-hand from their discussion with ALA would be helpful. At the moment it sounds like friction is synonymous with difficulty. If it’s too easy to check out books from the library, people will always do that instead of buying books. Likewise with ebooks you can check out from home or sync over the air. Of course, that’s nonsense.

  2. Hi Nathan,
    I’ve only read the 4 articles I posted. Most of the conversation about friction, as you said, was on twitter. If I find any other articles I’ll let you know.

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