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Topic: OverDrive Caught in a Bait & Switch With Library Ebooks

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Subject: OverDrive Caught in a Bait & Switch With Library Ebooks
Date Posted: 12/10/2011 8:20 PM ET
Member Since: 8/18/2005
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I don't borrow Library books, since I have a huge ebook TBR pile anyway, but found this interesting.

OverDrive Caught in a Bait & Switch With Library Ebooks

Apparently some publishers object to this, so OverDrive has been forced to restrict the ebook selection.  If a library has a generous library card policy they are denied the chance to see the same ebook selection as libraries with a strict policy.

 

Date Posted: 12/11/2011 2:33 PM ET
Member Since: 4/7/2008
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So I guess the problem is that Overdrive didn't tell the libraries that the Publishers had certain restrictions on ebooks? (I couldn't understand very well from the article.)

Date Posted: 12/11/2011 3:10 PM ET
Member Since: 10/30/2006
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This article makes no sense. I have library cards to 4 libraries( all legit)- the county I live in, work in, and two I pay for out of area. The two I pay for have the best selection. They are also nationally recognized as accepting out of area members. I could see however, if libraries bought books on different tier levels or on package deals. Sometimes all they get one week is the complete Nora Roberts, etc and nothing else new. Perhaps that was available in their budget?

Date Posted: 12/11/2011 3:41 PM ET
Member Since: 8/18/2005
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So I guess the problem is that Overdrive didn't tell the libraries that the Publishers had certain restrictions on ebooks? (I couldn't understand very well from the article.)

From what I understand, Overdrive made an agreement with Publishers that libraries with a large lending base would not be shown certain books so that they couldn't be loaned out by those libraries. But they didn't tell the libraries this. They let the libraries believe they were all buying books from the same catalog.

So a small library would see one catalog of books to order from, and a larger library that lets out-of-state people join and thus increase their circulation would get the secondary catalog with fewer books to chose from. The more the library opens their system to subscribers, the fewer books they were offered.

It was only when comparing what they wanted to order with what other libraries already had that they found they weren't being offered the same catalog of ebooks.

While Overdrive was saying they were offering their whole inventory, behind the scenes Overdrive was picking and chosing which libararies they wouldn't sell certain titles to because of their lending policies and their size.

Sounds to me, the way it reads, is that libraries like Free Library of Philadelphia that allow out of state members to join and borrow books, the fewer books they'll be able to buy and offer their patrons, even the in-state and local patrtons. While smaller libraries will have the whole catalog to chose from.

 

 

Date Posted: 12/11/2011 4:12 PM ET
Member Since: 10/22/2009
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I agree with Nancy--the article makes no sense.  I belong to a few in-state libraries (for access to most California libraries, all you need to be is a CA and appear in person to apply for your card) and pay for a membership to the Free LIbrary of Philadelphia.  When I'm looking for books, I check the collections at all my libraries and a lot of times check other libraries collections as well.  (You can go to search.overdrive.com/classic and search for books.  The search engine will list all the libraries a book is available at.) 

From my experience, the larger libraries (including Free Library of Philadelphia) have more extensive collections, which makes sense because they presumably have more funds to buy books with.  The Free Library of Philadelphia seems to have the  new releases available sooner than the smaller libraries.  Which seems to me to be exactly opposite of what the article is implying.



Last Edited on: 12/11/11 4:13 PM ET - Total times edited: 1
Date Posted: 12/11/2011 4:33 PM ET
Member Since: 8/18/2005
Posts: 7,977
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I can't add much to it, but did you all go to the original link in the post from "Librarian in Black"?

Here.

I don't know if that helps clear the waters or muddy them up even more. You'll have to let me know.

Date Posted: 12/11/2011 5:50 PM ET
Member Since: 7/19/2008
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It sounds like each library makes a contract with Overdrive.  So how much money and how many patrons would go into setting up this deal.  And Overdrive was failing to make the restrictions known while negotiating. 

Date Posted: 12/12/2011 11:49 AM ET
Member Since: 4/7/2008
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Oh I got it now. Thanks for decoding, Emily!

I belong to 3 library systems in the City of New York: Brooklyn, Queens & New York (Manhattan & The Bronx basically), and Brooklyn has the best selection of ebooks/audiobooks. Each library system serves between 2.3million-3million residents so they are somewhat comparable (Brooklyn is in the middle) so I always they just put more emphasis on digital books.

Date Posted: 12/12/2011 12:18 PM ET
Member Since: 8/18/2005
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I think it also may mean that libraries will find that in the best interests of their local customer they may have to drop their out-of-state memberships in the future.

They'd have less money to spend, but a bigger ebook catalog to chose from. It's another set of numbers they'll have to juggle before re-negotiating with Overdrive.

Date Posted: 12/12/2011 1:25 PM ET
Member Since: 7/19/2008
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I just want to make sure that the libraries know about all the secrets when negotiating for their patrons.  Put our tax money to good use.

I would also like it if Overdrive worked more on their search engine.  Kinda flimsy.  It probably drives librarians crazy.

Date Posted: 12/12/2011 5:07 PM ET
Member Since: 10/30/2006
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I'm not sure it would be in their best interests of their local customers, quite frankly. My local library tries really hard, but their funding has to be pushed into more community programs and physical books. The e-book selection and percentage of users is miniscule. Then you have a library like Free Library Philadelphia that opened up membership. There's a reason they can afford all those books. Are they being offered everything? Who knows? But their selection is pretty amazing as it is.

I think we're at the book version of Napster right now and they'll all figure it out. But really- the publishers won't figure it out until they realize that consumers won't pay paper prices for an ebook. The numbers Amazon throws out there (and B&N too) all include the freebies so when they say they are selling more ebooks than paper books, all those freebies and 99 centers are included.