Overdrive FAQ

Answers To Questions About Our Downloadable Book Collection

Why doesn’t the library buy every best selling title in eBook format?

Not all publishers will sell eBooks to libraries and library consortia. As of January 2012, we are unable to purchase new releases from Penguin (eBook and audio book) or any title by Simon and Schuster, Macmillan, Hachette, and Brilliance Audio. Harper-Collins requires that we purchase a new copy of a title after 26 uses.

I have a Kindle. I thought all eBooks owned by the library were Kindle compatible but some titles won’t work on my Kindle. Why?

Some publishers will not allow libraries to loan their titles in Kindle format even though you, as a consumer, can purchase a copy that is Kindle compatible.

Why do I have to wait for an eBook? Aren’t these virtual?

Libraries have to purchase an eBook in the same way they purchase physical books. The publishers require us to abide by one copy/one user model just as we do with physical books. We try to anticipate which titles will be popular by purchasing extra copies but we don’t have the funds to buy enough copies to fill every patron request immediately.

EBooks are less expensive than print books. Why doesn’t the library own more eBooks?

The price that we pay to the publishers for eBooks is higher than the price charged to consumers. In many cases the publishers charge the library more than the cost of a print copy. While the libraries in SAILS have more than doubled what they are spending on eBooks there is still a financial limit on how much we can spend.

How long will I have to wait for a title if I am on hold?

SAILS will buy a copy of a title for every seven holds placed. EBooks can’t be returned late or renewed so your wait won’t be too long. Sometimes however a publisher will remove a title from sale to libraries after we have purchased it. If it is a popular title we can have many holds on one copy but be unable to purchase additional copies to fill holds.

Can I donate the eBooks I have purchased to the library?

Under current copyright and digital rights restrictions you are unable to donate eBooks to the library for other patrons to use. However portion of each sale of digital content or other items, purchased from OverDrive WIN Affiliated Retailers using the “Buy it Now” link from the http://sails.lib.overdrive.com website, is credited back to this library. The funds your library earns from the OverDrive WIN Affiliate Program will be a credit for the library to add eBooks, audiobooks, or music to its virtual branch. The titles and materials the library selects are at the library’s discretion.

Why can’t I download my favorite author’s titles?

It’s probably because of the publisher’s stance toward eBooks in libraries via Overdrive. (informational table in GIF image format from the Hinsdale Library.)

If you’d like to see more downloadable eBooks available in libraries, please contact publishers who impose limitations on eBook downloads to libraries to give them your feedback.

These publishers have never allowed eBooks to be distributed to libraries via Overdrive.

Macmillan Publishing
75 Varick Street
New York, NY 10013
(212) 226-7521

Simon & Schuster
1230 Avenue of the Americas
New York, NY 10020
(212) 698-7000

Hachette no longer offers eBook titles to libraries via Overdrive.

Hachette Book Group
466 Lexington Avenue #131
New York, NY 10017
(212) 364-1100

Penguin Group no longer offers eBook titles to libraries via Overdrive. Previously purchased titles may no longer be transfered wirelessly to devices like WiFi enabled Kindles.

Penguin Group
375 Hudson Street
New York, NY 10014
(212) 366-2000

A Harper Collins library eBook license expires after 26 checkouts (effectively giving popular titles a one-year shelf life).

HarperCollins Publishers
10 East 53rd Street
New York, NY 10022
(212) 207-7000
Brian.Murray@harpercollins.com (CEO of HarperCollins Publishers)

Some information in this post used courtesy of Sarah Houghton-Jan, blogger and director of the San Rafael Public Library (CA) from her February, 2012 blog entry.