Wednesday, June 15, 2011

OverDrive to Streamline Library eBook Lending, Selection

Library eBook vendor OverDrive announced "OverDrive WIN" today, a major enhancement and simplification of its eBook ecosystem for libraries, which will soon face competition from 3M and others in the rush to meet patron demand for eBooks.

The service will finally eliminate the need for libraries to order or patrons to understand the various eBook or audiobook formats, needing only to select "eBook" or "audiobook". More free eBooks will be added to the OverDrive system, as will free eBook samples from publishers, and the previously announced support for Amazon's Kindle devices.

Two very interesting features were announced that would answer some of the biggest complaints from patrons about the current OverDrive system:
the long reserve lists for titles in the system, and titles missing altogether. New 'always available' eBook collections would allow simultaneous access of titles (rather than requiring libraries to predict the demand for titles and scale their purchases accordingly). Finally, OverDrive WIN would include a patron driven acquisition system to allow readers to immediately borrow or recommend a title.

It all sounds very nice, but we'll have to wait for full details (hopefully including pricing) to be revealed at the ALA Annual Conference next week.