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From: Todd Allcock on 23 May 2010 00:53
"OverDrive to Release eBook Reading Apps
"Free applications designed to integrate eBooks, audiobooks, and interactive
and multimedia content into one application
"(Cleveland, OH) - May 19, 2010 - OverDrive (www.overdrive.com), a leading
distributor of eBooks, audiobooks, and digital content for libraries,
schools, and retailers, announced that it will release a series of apps that
will combine eBooks, audiobooks, and interactive and multimedia content into
one user-friendly application. The apps will be available for both mobile
and desktop operating systems, including Windows�, Mac�, iPhone�, iPad�,
AndroidTM, Windows Mobile�, and BlackBerry�. Millions of end users will
benefit from a single software solution for all OverDrive-supplied content,
as well as on-the-go access to eBooks from OverDrive-powered library and
"The significant investments that libraries and retailers are making in
premium eBook collections will have even greater value when users can access
titles on their mobile devices," said David Burleigh, director of marketing
for OverDrive. "Existing eBook collections, as well as upcoming interactive
and multimedia content in a variety of genres, will be compatible with apps
for iPhone, iPad, Android, and other mobile operating systems."
"Android devices will be the first to experience OverDrive's app with
integrated eBook reading features. The app will enable wireless downloads of
premium, copy-protected eBooks, as well as enhanced accessibility and
usability features such as text-to-speech. This and other mobile apps are
being developed under a license agreement with Adobe� and using the Adobe
Reader Mobile 9 SDK. All OverDrive apps will support EPUB, PDF, and eBook
content protection functionality, including library lending and expiration.
"For a preview of the OverDrive eBook apps, as well as other service
enhancements, visit booth 3258 at BookExpo America, May 26-27, in New York
City (http://bit.ly/bgVSmL). OverDrive will also exhibit in the IDPF Digital
Book Zone, booth 2323, at BEA.
"OverDrive distributes best-selling and new release digital books to more
than 10,000 libraries, schools, and retailers worldwide-with support for
Windows, Mac, iPod, iPhone, iPad, Sony� ReaderTM, nookTM, Windows Mobile,
BlackBerry, and Android. To find libraries and booksellers that are members
of OverDrive's network, visit http://search.overdrive.com. OverDrive also
operates the Digital Bookmobile (www.digitalbookmobile.com), a high-tech
18-wheeler traveling North America on behalf of public libraries to raise
awareness about free library downloads.
"OverDrive is a leading full-service digital distributor of eBooks,
audiobooks, music, and video. We deliver secure management, DRM protection,
and download fulfillment services for hundreds of publishers and thousands
of libraries, schools, and retailers, serving millions of end users.
OverDrive has been named to the EContent 100 as a company that matters most
in the digital content industry. Founded in 1986, OverDrive is based in
Cleveland, OH. www.overdrive.com"
From: Beverly Howard on 23 May 2010 20:24
A few years ago, I spent some time working with our (small) local
library looking at overdrive's offerings as they struggled with the need
to provide ebooks to library patrons.
Bottom line, at the time the initial cost to the library was in the mid
five figures and required an ongoing multi thousand dollar subscription
to maintain the service.
It would be interesting to see if the cost has become more reasonable in
the interum... my experience with the attempt to help the library was
rather frustrating and the costs were far beyond their resources.
From: Todd Allcock on 24 May 2010 03:23
At 23 May 2010 19:24:19 -0500 Beverly Howard wrote:
> A few years ago, I spent some time working with our (small) local
> library looking at overdrive's offerings as they struggled with the
> need to provide ebooks to library patrons.
> Bottom line, at the time the initial cost to the library was in the mid
> five figures and required an ongoing multi thousand dollar subscription
> to maintain the service.
> It would be interesting to see if the cost has become more reasonable
> in the interum... my experience with the attempt to help the library
> was rather frustrating and the costs were far beyond their resources.
> Beverly Howard
Sounds like Overdrive needs a competitor... ;) With the recent
popularity of ebook readers, I smell a business opportunity! It might be
a good time for a service that managed backends for libraries and also
rented materials directly to end-users.
AFAIK, the hosting and infrastructure is all on Overdrive's servers, so I
don't see why they need to charge so much to start out, other than for
the content itself (even in electronic format, the library has to
purchase a copy of each item they wish to lend. At an average price of
$10-15 for ebooks and that much or more for each audiobook, the initial
cost could be pretty high.)
How much of that mid-five figures you quoted was for content? Do they
have a minimum buy-in? Between my several local library cards and few
select cards from around the country borrowed from luddite friends and
relatives with no interest in e-anything, I currently have access to
eight Overdrive libraries, (looking for Liverpool, UK, if anyone's
offering!) ;) and most have an extraordinary similarity in older content-
almost as if they all had to buy the same "starter set" initially. The
"richer" libraries have more recent releases and bestsellers, but there
seems to be a core set of materials all of them have.
When working with your local library, did they consider a shared system?
Here in Colorado, our three or four largest counties have their own
Overdrive eLibraries; most of the rest belong to a single shared
statewide system, presumably to share costs.
My home state of Rhode Island has a similar shared statewide system- no
library system there has their own eLibrary- they're all part of the
"Ocean State EZone." Kansas and Maryland are two others I use that have
statewide shared systems. It makes recently released "hot" items a
little harder to borrow because of the larger user pool, but it allows
for a lot more depth of inventory, since each county or city doesn't have
to buy a copy of the same materials.
While I'd be sad to see Overdrive milking public libraries because they
have no real competition, for end users it's a pretty slick system, and a
nice alternative to purchasing content you have no intention of using
more than once.
From: Beverly Howard on 24 May 2010 10:42
>> How much of that mid-five figures you quoted was for content? <<
Been too long... it became quickly apparent that what they had to offer
was aimed at large institutions and since it was so far over the ability
for our local library to pay, so, we gave up at that point.
>> servers <<
Good observation. Things are still at the point where the muscle is
aimed directly at the patron because of the fear of piracy. The
publishers are still insisting on doing everything possible to prevent
the past from continuing in the electronic arena. It's mystifying to
watch the completely unrealistic "solutions" that the designers come up
with. A huge waste of resources when the end result is going to be
"see, we told you people wouldn't use it"
Read my first ebook sometime in the mid 90's... and things have been
getting worse ever since.
From: Todd Allcock on 25 May 2010 00:54
At 24 May 2010 09:42:50 -0500 Beverly Howard wrote:
> >> How much of that mid-five figures you quoted was for content? <<
> Been too long... it became quickly apparent that what they had to offer
> was aimed at large institutions and since it was so far over the
> ability for our local library to pay, so, we gave up at that point.
It's a shame Overdrive didn't (and perhaps doesn't) have a less expensive
option for smaller libraries. You'd think it'd be in their best interest
to get libraries on board cheaplyto increase interest and let the
libraries scale up to larger collections (and fees) as needed.
> >> servers <<
> Good observation. Things are still at the point where the muscle is
> aimed directly at the patron because of the fear of piracy. The
> publishers are still insisting on doing everything possible to prevent
> the past from continuing in the electronic arena. It's mystifying to
> watch the completely unrealistic "solutions" that the designers come up
> with. A huge waste of resources when the end result is going to be "see,
> we told you people wouldn't use it"
DRM is far less offensive to me in a rental/borrow scenario like this,
than in a content purchase scenario. The DRM scheme only has to last for
my rental period! What bugs me is that when technology eventually
marches on, it can obsolete your prior purchases. My 50-year old paper
books are still perfectly readable, but who can still read their 10 year-
old Franklin Bookman or Gemstar Rocket ebooks?
> Read my first ebook sometime in the mid 90's... and things have been
> getting worse ever since.
Yep- too many formats and DRM schemes. You almost wonder why they bother-
virtually every ebook DRM scheme has been broken, so the Forces of the
Ungodly can just as easily pirate virtually every published ebook as if
there were no DRM at all. It seems to be a system completely useless for
protecting copyright, yet capable of providing maximum inconvenience to