Overdrive FAQ

Answers To Questions About Our Downloadable Book Collection

How to check out titles from the Massachusetts Partner Library Networks

What are the lending policies for Overdrive titles?

SAILS digital titles can be checked out for 7, 14, or 21 days, with 7 as the default lending period. The only exceptions are picture books, and streaming video titles, which have 3, 5, or 7 day loan periods, with 5 as the default. There can be 6 titles checked out at a time, and 10 titles on hold.

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

Not all publishers will sell eBooks to libraries and library consortia. We often have to purchase licenses for a set number of uses, or a set amount of time, etc. depending on the terms of the license. There are rarely discounts on ebooks. In fact. the costs are much higher than the print.

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.

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. Often publishers will sell to individual libraries but not the the consortia.