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In December, Ryan Claringbole and I wrote a post about his library’s (the Chesapeake Public Library’s) sub-standard selection catalog from OverDrive: “OverDrive Has Different eBook Catalogs for Different Libraries.”  eBooks that I could see in my library’s OverDrive selection catalog to license were not available in his library’s selection catalog.

I decided to follow up and browse through his library’s OverDrive site and found that those very same authors titles that his library couldn’t even license back in December were in fact now in their catalog for the public to check out.

Kathryn Stockett

Stieg Larsson

Janet Evanovich

Naturally I was confused.  Something had changed.  So I contacted both the Chesapeake Public Library (the Library Director) and OverDrive (email was sent to several contacts).  Strangely, the Library Director never responded.  OverDrive responded (quickly this time) with the following:

At the library’s request, we recently met with an administrator at the Chesapeake Public Library to discuss the issues that led to the initial restriction on their catalog.  We don’t as a policy discuss publicly each partner library’s terms of service, but suffice to say we were satisfied by the discussions and have since enabled full access to the catalog.

What do we take away from this story? What do you think happened here?  Did the negative press and the library standing up for its users make a difference?  Did OverDrive change the terms of their contract with the CPL? Did OverDrive change their policies so that they don’t limit libraries’ access to selection catalogs anymore?  Did the publishers agree to new terms and change their contracts with OverDrive? Did OverDrive make an exception in this case?  I don’t know.  I have my guesses, but I’m more curious to hear what yours are.

So…what do you think  happened?

P.S. A Public Service Announcement: For public libraries, all of our contracts are public record by nature of being public agencies. So it’s fine that OverDrive won’t “discuss” terms of service — but here’s a reminder to everyone…you, as the library, can discuss them. You can share your contracts with the world unless you signed a non-disclosure agreement, which you can’t even legally do.

“Dear OverDrive: did you *actually* listen to us?”


    […] Read More here. […]

  2. Norma Says:

    Interesting because my library is in the process of building our initial collection with Overdrive, and The Help is not available as an eBook.

  3. Sarah Says:

    Well, according to Steve Potash at the Computers in Libraries Conference this past week no libraries still have the “sub-par” catalog. So if the librarians can’t see The Help in the catalog for purchase, then we have a discrepancy in facts. I sincerely hope that’s not true.

  4. Starbookzzz Says:

    The Help is published by Penguin. Penguin discontinued sales of eBooks through OverDrive.

  5. Eric F. Van de Velde Says:

    Why public libraries should NOT offer Overdrive and what they should do instead:
    I hope you will support this idea.

  6. Blogger Bontang Says:

    Interesting because my library is in the process of building our initial collection with Overdrive, and The Help is not available as an eBook.

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