January 24, 2022

OverDrive Posts Public Comment Apparently in Response to Friday's Librarian in Black Post

A post by Karen Estrovich, manager of collection development for OverDrive, was just made available on their Digital Library Blog.

This new OverDrive post does not mention or link to what was VERY likely the reason for the post in the first place. It comes three days after Sarah Houghton shared a SUPERB report about how some library customers see different available titles available. In other words, an eBook available for Library A to add to their collection might not be available for Library B to select.

Sarah also points out in her post that she tried reaching out to OverDrive three times for a formal statement and never heard back. Why?

We also posted on Friday, linking to Sarah’s article, and pointing out how it appears that unless “pressed” OverDrive is not as forthcoming as we would hope to see from a library industry vendor of any size.

We also reached out to OverDrive after our post went up.

Soon after, INFOdocket was sent an email response by an OverDrive spokesperson and was promised we would here back from the company ASAP. That was more than 72 hours ago. We have yet to hear anything. Surprisingly, not even a “go check the blog post” email from the company.

Disappointing for sure.

Although we now have a public comment it does provide specific answers to some of the questions we asked on Friday.

Reactions to OverDrive’s Post and Some Questions

“OverDrive must constantly adapt to the distribution rights and restrictions that authors and publishers require for library lending of their intellectual property.”

  • How about telling us how you are adapting on a regular basis? Some examples would be great!
  • Of course, as we pointed out on Friday, Amazon.com says that OverDrive never told them about specific Penguin restrictions. This was first reported by Michael Kelley at LJ several weeks ago.

“As a result of OverDrive’s cooperation with hundreds of forward-thinking librarians…”

  • Is this really necessary? You can makes us feel even better about ourselves through actions and sharing information.

“Under the permissions set by authors and publishers, 99.9% of US public libraries served by OverDrive have access to the exact same catalog of eBook, audiobook, music, and video titles.”

  • So what Sarah and Ryan found was one of the 500 titles that are the exception?
  • Why didn’t you share this with customers before today?
  • Is their a list of the approx. 500 or less titles that are not available to all U.S. public library customers?

The List of Possible Reasons for Exception

  • Again, couldn’t this have been shared earlier?
  • When Steve Potash made his comments in February why not share it then?
  • Why share it today?
  • Can customers be told when changes are made to specific titles the reasons provided?

“In this age of Internet gratification, we know news spreads fast and need to ensure what we communicate is accurate, objective, courteous and professional.”

  • Give us a break. As we noted earlier, Librarian in Black asked for a comment several times. INFOdocket asked for a comment on Friday morning and were told a reply was forthcoming. We never got one. Was this very courteous?
About Gary Price

Gary Price (gprice@mediasourceinc.com) is a librarian, writer, consultant, and frequent conference speaker based in the Washington D.C. metro area. Before launching INFOdocket, Price and Shirl Kennedy were the founders and senior editors at ResourceShelf and DocuTicker for 10 years. From 2006-2009 he was Director of Online Information Services at Ask.com, and is currently a contributing editor at Search Engine Land.