“In a stunning development, Penguin Group has extricated itself from its contract with OverDrive, the primary supplier of ebooks to public libraries.
‘Looking ahead, we are continuing to talk about our future plans for ebook and digital audiobook availability for library lending with a number of partners providing these services,’ said Erica Glass, in a prepared statement.
Penguin is negotiating a “continuance agreement” with OverDrive, which will allow libraries that have Penguin ebooks in their catalog to continue to have access to those titles.”
From an E-Mail to OverDrive Partners
Starting tomorrow (February 10, 2012), Penguin will no longer offer additional copies of eBooks and download audiobooks for library purchase. Additionally, Penguin eBooks loaned for reading on Kindle devices will need to be downloaded to a computer then transferred to the device over USB. For library patrons, this means Penguin eBooks will no longer be available for over-the-air delivery to Kindle devices or to Kindle apps.
We are continuing to talk to Penguin about their future plans for eBook and digital audiobook availability for library lending.
The end of over-the-air downloads to Kindle devices is interesting. Does it say something about a security issue in Amazon’s wireless download system? Something else? How about trying to make things a bit tougher for library users/OverDrive customers that will slowdown loans OR simply OverDrive and Amazon now following the Penguin’s contract?
In November Penguin said that Amazon.com was never told about the terms of the Penguin/OverDrive contract. Perhaps it said that wireless downloading was not permitted?
Otherwise, perhaps it’s some form of retribution directed at OverDrive with Amazon.com or maybe we’ve watched to many reruns of The Soprano’s. (-:
Penguin has subsequently been informed by Amazon that it had not been consulted by Overdrive about the terms of Penguin’s agreement with Overdrive. Amazon has undertaken to work with Penguin and Overdrive between now and the end of the year to address Penguin’s concerns. Penguin will, as a result, restore the supply of these titles until the end of the year in order to return the availability of older titles to all its digital customers.
One thing is for sure, there will likely be a lot of libraries having to modify web sites, documentation, and training programs about how to download Kindle ebooks with today’s news of only USB transfers being available.