To:    OverDrive library partners

From:  Steve Potash, OverDrive CEO

Despite recent changes by some publishers regarding their policies for library lending and continued review of pricing models and digital book lending issues, the 2012 outlook for growing your digital book catalog with more options for your readers is encouraging. I share this opinion following dozens of advocacy meetings with executives from trade and educational publishers, publishing associations, author groups, library directors, consortia and leadership from ALA and PLA, as well as state and regional library groups.

For nearly a decade, I have been advocating the extraordinary value that public libraries, through both branch locations and online catalogs, provide to publishers by connecting readers with books and authors. Until recently, we had only anecdotal evidence that digital book lending leads to more retail sales. This included many authors voicing their support for digital library lending and how discovery and the social aspect of the library grows sales for both their physical and digital editions. At Digital Book World last month, Amazon provided new data that eBook lending programs resulted in remarkable spikes and elevated ongoing sales for participating books and authors. Library Journal also reported a similar strong book buying behavior of library users in its Patron Profiles reports.

Below are highlights of relevant new initiatives from OverDrive that will help bolster momentum.

Dozens of eBook publishers joining the library lending market. These include best-selling authors in almost every genre. A few who have more recently joined OverDrive include ABDO Publishing Company, Andrews McMeel Publishing,  Cherry Lake Publishing, David C Cook, Disney Digital Books, Evan-Moor Educational Publishers, Harvest House Publishers, Inc., Johns Hopkins Uiversity Press, Lonely Planet Pty, Ltd, McFarland, Raintree, Rosen Publishing Group, Saddleback Educational Publishing, Skyhorse Publishing, Thomas Nelson, Baker Publishing Group, Belgrave House, Carson-Dellosa Publishing, Encyclopaedia Britannica, Houghton Mifflin, Open Road Integrated Media and many more.

Top selling publishers and authors support public library digital lending. Random House, HarperCollins, John Wiley, Harlequin Romance, Kensington, Perseus, Sourcebooks, Scholastic, Chronicle, among others, and hundreds of their best-selling authors strongly support and are partnering with OverDrive to build stronger connections to library eBook readers.

New WIN initiatives. As part of how libraries, publishers and readers can all continue to WIN, here are a few of the newest
initiatives that are now live or will go into live pilot this and next month.

  • Buy It Now: Now in 60 library markets (also coming soon to UK and Australian libraries), readers can easily discover titles from your digital media catalog and instantly link to online booksellers offering the title for sale. We are seeing
    modest early success which will provide another data point of how online library browsers frequently become book buyers. A portion of each sale is credited back to the referring library as an affiliate fee. We are live with direct Buy It Now links to over 300 independent US booksellers through Indiebound as well as Amazon, Barnes & Noble,
    BooksonBoard.com, Powells.com and others.
  • Discovery and Sampling of complete eBook and audiobook catalogs (mid and backlist) with  “Recommend to Library“: Last month at ALA Midwinter, we demonstrated a new option for patron driven acquisition. During February, we will begin pilot programs for the new WIN Catalog. These “additional titles” can be displayed following a search to complement your library’s current digital book holdings. The WIN Catalog will enable discovery, sampling, Buy It Now (US only to begin) and a new “Recommend to Library” option for hundreds of thousands of titles from nearly 1,000 publishers and suppliers. This feature alone will provide an ongoing and fresh feed of more than 25,000 new eBook and digital audiobook titles for discovery and sampling each month above and beyond your holdings of titles available for checkout from your OverDrive digital collection.
  • Readers’ Advisory Services and “Author Impressions”: In addition to adding hundreds of thousands of eBook and digital audiobook titles for discovery and sampling from your library catalog, the WIN Catalog will also provide a series of new librarian recommendation services and author impressions that will offer options for readers to directly connect with authors and discover “Read-a-Likes.” A rapidly growing series of book, author, book trailer, author event and librarian recommendations will be included in the WIN catalog feeds. These features will also be live at select pilot public libraries later this month.
  • Library lending and book interest data: OverDrive will expand the data and reports we provide to our library partners and to our supportive publishers and authors on the circulation and interest in our digital collections.  Without any changes to your patron privacy policy, we will offer to share aggregated data on how readers discover, sample and connect with books and authors. OverDrive and our library advisors are formulating guidelines to benefit libraries, publishers and authors who support library lending.

We will continue to provide updates and more details about each of these initiatives, including how you can opt-in, and are very interested to hear your thoughts as well. I want to thank everyone — including public libraries, library associations and executives from many publishing houses — for the guidance provided to OverDrive. In separate updates, my team will provide
details of other enhancements to streamline our services for your patrons and your staff. If you are attending PLA in Philadelphia, drop by to see me and our team in Booth 818. If you have any questions, please contact me or your Account Specialist at OverDrive.

Sincerely,

Steve Potash

One Response to “OverDrive advocacy efforts and new services for library lending of digital books”

  1. Ann Flynn

    Oh my, this will be splendid! Can you add a link to the KDL What’s Next database?
    And also to Nancy Pearl’s Book Reviews website, or recommend her Book Lust series?
    These are resources I share with patrons on a regular basis.
    thanks!