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 paidcontent.org, 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, Paidcontent.org
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
Below is a press release from OverDrive regarding 2011 use stats. Clearly the demand for library eBooks has increased; “doubled” according to the press release. While I’m thoroughly impressed by the interest and demand in content, I can’t help but focus on 4 of the statistics below. 1.6 billion book/title pages viewed by 99 million visitors, yet only 35 million digital titles were checked out in 2011 with 17 million holds (OverDrive did not indicate % increases here). How can we meet the growing demands of patrons when the holds list is nearly half of the checkouts? Public librarians, is this proportionate to your print circulation/holds data? Additionally, if 99 million people visited the site, how many of them left with either an item checked out or placed on hold? Reading between the lines, it looks to me like 99 million visitors tried very hard to search the catalog (1.6 billion views) for an available title and most left with nothing.
Here is more from the press release:
Dallas, TX – American Library Association Midwinter Conference, Jan. 19, 2012 – OverDrive, the leading global distributor of eBooks and audiobooks, will release 2011 year-end statistics from its global network of 18,000 libraries and schools in 21 countries at the American Library Association Midwinter Conference in Dallas, January 20-23 (Booth 845). Due to the rapid expansion of device compatibility and consumer awareness, eBook discovery and online reader visits at libraries and schools worldwide experienced triple digit growth in 2011: OverDrive library website traffic more than doubled to 1.6 billion page views and visitor sessions also doubled to nearly 100 million. At the conference, OverDrive will share statistics and user profile data as well as demonstrate new digital book discovery services to help libraries meet the exploding demand. Continue reading OverDrive use data – demand doubled but what about circulation?
From an OverDrive press release: OverDrive (www.overdrive.com), the leading global digital distributor of eBooks and audiobooks to libraries and schools, has added thousands of foreign-language materials in dozens of genres to its broad catalog of more than 700,000 digital titles available across the globe. OverDrive’s online catalog, Content Reserve, which contains digital books in more than 50 languages, recently added popular and bestselling titles in Russian, Swedish, Portuguese, Italian and Turkish with thousands of Spanish eBooks coming soon.
Recently signed global distribution agreements include: Continue reading OverDrive expands foreign-language materials
Gary Price and Shirl Kennedy at INFODocket are asking some very important questions about end-user privacy when borrowing OverDrive library books through a third party vendor site (Amazon). The post asks:
- Is Amazon collecting download information?
- Is Amazon saving library download info permanently?
- If not, how long will they keep it? Is there a retention policy?
- Can you provide any info about privacy as it relates to OverDrive/Amazon?
- Will the library books you borrow be used by Amazon to provide recommendations of books for you to purchase?
- Is there a link to scrub all of your personal “library” data from Amazon.com’s servers with a single click?
- Do OverDrive and Amazon.com have any suggestions about how to make the entire process clearer to users?
- How would they respond to the issue that, since the service is being marketed by libraries, users might incorrectly think library privacy policies may still apply?
More information about this issue is available via the INFODocket blog post.
Just received this OverDrive press release in email:
In a move highly anticipated since its initial announcement in April, public libraries and schools in the U.S. can now lend eBooks for the Amazon® Kindle. OverDrive (www.overdrive.com) announced today that it has begun adding Kindle compatibility to all of the U.S. public and school libraries in its network and expects to have all sites updated within days. This is a very significant step in a series of OverDrive WIN platform enhancements to streamline user experience and help libraries meet the increased demand for eBooks.
OverDrive, the leading multichannel digital distributor of eBooks, audiobooks and other digital content, supplies 15,000 public and school libraries worldwide and more than 11,000 in the U.S. To see if your local library is a member of the OverDrive network, visit OverDrive Search. Continue reading OverDrive Press Release about Kindle lending launch – sites up within days
Picked up this news from Nate Hoffelder’s tweet (@thDigitalReader)
From the Amazon Press Release (9/21):
Amazon.com today announced that Kindle and Kindle app customers can now borrow Kindle books from more than 11,000 local libraries in the United States. When a customer borrows a Kindle library book, they’ll have all of the unique features they love about Kindle books, including Whispersync, which automatically synchronizes their margin notes, highlights and bookmarks, real page numbers, Facebook and Twitter integration, and more. For more information about borrowing library books for your Kindle or free Kindle apps, go to www.amazon.com/kindle/publiclibraries. To start checking out Kindle library books, visit your local library’s website. Continue reading Kindle Books Now Available at over 11,000 Local Libraries
Good news from OverDrive for those librarians seeking professional development titles in eBook format. OverDrive announced on Sept. 6th that ALA Editions and Information Today are now publishing partners. ALA Editions is offering 75 titles, which will likely grow. No word on the number of Information Today titles. Thanks to INFODocket for tweeting this one.
Here’s more from an OverDrive blog post from September 6th, 2011 by Lindsey Levinsohn:
OverDrive’s academic catalog grows even more robust as titles from the publishing imprint of the American Library Association, ALA Editions, and Information Today are added. Continue reading OverDrive adds ALA Editions and Information Today titles to collections
OverDrive’s road-trip with the Digital Bookmobile started today. I’ve never seen the Digital Bookmobile up close and in person. Hopefully some of you can stop by one of the tour stops for a look. The first tour last year was over 80K miles. Here’s more from the OverDrive press release:
To help libraries and schools educate consumers about the growing eBook explosion, The Digital Bookmobile will return to the road for a national tour allowing readers across the country to discover free downloads from libraries. The tour resumes today, August 1, at Cuyahoga County Public Library in Cleveland and will continue across North America, including stops in Ohio, Virginia, District of Columbia and Texas. The Digital Bookmobile will also showcase eBooks, audiobooks and more at the National Book Festival in Washington, D.C. on September 24 and 25.
Each event will showcase the local public or K-12 library’s ‘Virtual Branch’ website where users can browse, check out and download titles anytime, anywhere with just a library card and an Internet connection. To see if the Digital Bookmobile will stop at your library, visit www.digitalbookmobile.com. To find a library near you that offers the service, visit http://search.overdrive.com/. Continue reading OverDrive’s Digital Bookmobile starts road-trip
From an OverDrive blog post: The days of having to dig your library card out when you’re trying to download an eBook at the doctor’s office (or park, or airport terminal, or a bar mitzvah) are over. With the latest update to OverDrive-powered mobile sites, users will have the option for their devices to store their library card numbers.
Starting now, when customers check out a title, the device will have a box where they can check “Remember me on this device.” The device will then hold the characters in its memory for 90 days after each use. This is an optional service. If a library requires a pin, it will still be required to check out titles.
This update is a part of OverDrive WIN, a series of platform enhancements that will streamline user experience and provide access to more content. Check back to see more enhancements to your service.