Sony and Overdrive Join Forces to Court Library Patrons

Used by permission of Sony Electronics IncThis is so awesome I’m hopping in my chair. Per Linda Dawson’s blog: Sony and Overdrive have hooked up to do a cross-marketing effort, which is AWESOME avec couli d’WIN because Overdrive is a supplier of library ebooks.

Dawson’s interpretation of the Press Release indicates that, in her opinion, some of the marketing will include:

  * Reminding visitors to both websites that this service exists, and providing a search box to locate their library
  * Training librarians to help patrons with the Sony Reader
  * Doing marketing within the Sony Style stores to raise in-store awareness about this service

As a patron of the NYPL, I can borrow books from the library, and that includes digital titles. I think my Sony and I need to try that out at lunch today. According to Mike Cane and his seriously creepy avatar, the NYPL just added .epub format books to the collection and users can select time period of loan: 7, 14, or 21 days. HELL TO THE YES.

One of the things I think Kindle has missed the boat on is the fact that not everyone wants to spend money on books, even a few dollars. Borrowing from libraries is up across the US in the tumultalicious economy we are rocking right now, and many local papers are reporting double the traffic at libraries in places like Glens Falls in upstate New York and in Hartford. Connecticut. Now that Sony and Overdrive making a deliberate effort to court and help decode the mysteries of ebook readers for new and established library patrons, I’m so excited. Possibilities are gooooood – much like reading, in fact.

ETA: If you’d like to see if your local library has digital media access that allows patrons to borrow ebooks, go to Overdrive’s search page and in the upper right side you can search for libraries served by Overdrive by zipcode, AND you can specify “eBook” as media type. Woot!

 

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  1. 1
    jenreads says:

    I’ve borrowed several books from my library for my 505. It’s easy and convenient. When I place a hold, they notify me and I have three days to check out and download. The Overdrive software is a pain, but if you search by “date added to site” it gives you the newest adds first. My library system has just added the epub version and they have 30 titles so far. There are some very hot titles in that 30 (The Help by Kathryn Stockett – great book). Too bad they only add titles once a month. I keep meaning to let my library know how much I love the service. That’s going on my to do list.

  2. 2
    Jeff Scott says:

    That’s exciting news. I know they enabled Sony Readers to work with Overdrive about a year ago. I think the eventual plan to establish a service where libraries can check out Sony Readers to patrons after they have loaded Overdrive books on them.

    I have a youtube tutorial on how to do that if you are interested:
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=GJjhJSNqRI0

  3. 3
    Kate Jones says:

    I’m gonna jump up and down because my boss is quoted in the Courant article. Mmmmk?

  4. 4
    Collette says:

    I actually borrow library books all the time from the Chicago Public Library to read on my Sony.  I never had any problem until (yes, there’s an until) the latest version of Adobe DE.  Everything downloads easily and transfers easily but now, sometimes, the library books become a shell (the book shows up on the Reader, the info is there but the content disappears—the book starts and ends on page 1).  I have been too lazy to try and find a fix but before this weirdness, all worked really, really well.

  5. 5
    Jessica says:

    As a librarian I’m both excited and disamyed by this.  Excited because I do think we need to loan e-books, and I’ve been talking a lot about reaching out to a new generation of readers who may not think they need the library.  Dismayed because they are working with Overdrive which is one of the worst library vendors I’ve ever had to deal with.  Their audiobooks product is STILL not really compatible with ipods and mac computers, after years of selling this product to libraries.  Their e-book collections aren’t much better.  And I won’t even get started on their secrecy and confusing website which makes it very hard to find out what they really offer and how well it really works with the various formats and computers. 

    Until Sony dumps overdrive, I think the Kindle still has a great chance to move into the library market.

  6. 6
    Erica says:

    This is great news!! ePub will become the primary format for all ebooks eventually, or at least it should. One format for everyone would make things so much easier for us poor consumers.

  7. 7
    Madd says:

    I’ve been getting library books for my eReader for months in pdf format via My Media Mall. My only problem with them is the lack of audio books in mp3 format.

  8. 8
    ev says:

    My library system has had this for awhile, but i haven’t used it yet. Mainly because I haven’t been able to figure it out, and the people at my branch haven’t really been taught how to help me either.

    I was told, and I hope that this is right, that once it is downloaded onto my ereader, or even better a memory chip, it doesn’t “expire” the way it does if it is on the computer.

    collete- I do think I saw something about the compatibility problems with the 505 and a patch or directions to fix it on the Overdrive site. But I am not positive where I saw it.

  9. 9
    joykenn says:

    My library has had Overdrive and I have no problems with the collection they have.  I listen to audiobooks frequently and have tried out some ebooks on my Palm.  Sadly I can’t load any of these on my Kindle (yes, I drank the Kindleaid.)  When I’ve had problems loading audiobooks when I changed devices, I emailed Overdrive.  They very promptly emailed back including parts of their download program until I was finally able to load things AND they used non-techy language.

    First, the collection at Overdrive—like any library it depends on what your librarian decides to buy.  Mine buy lots and lots of mysteries and romances (all of JD Robb) and other fiction.  We’ve got a great ebook collection at Overdrive!  Other libraries might not have spent as much money on this format.  Complain!  Get your neighbor to complain!  Then complain again!  Demand that your library supply what the public wants and then get the rest of the public to express their wishes.  We have a great paperback romance collection which is very well read so they’ve expanded their purchases there and will buy most any requested paperback book (except erotic fiction).  Librarians generally LIKE to help their folks find books to read so pleading works very well.

  10. 10
    HelenK says:

    I love checking books out from the library. My library has been a part of the Overdrive system for a few years now and I get almost all of my ebooks/audio books from them. When Sony made the 505 compatible last year my DH bought a reader for me (love it!)

    Our library has a huge collection of books, there are very few times when I’ve wanted something and it’s not available.

    I agree with jenreads. the Overdrive software is awful. It’s search function is quirky and you really have to play with it to find what you were looking for. I generally go to the Recently Returned section and browse from there. :)

    Jessica, my library now has wma versions and ipod compatible versions on most (but not all) the audio books. They just added the ipod capabilities a few months ago. I don’t know much about it as I have a mp3 player the the wma audiobooks work just fine on it.

    Collette, I had the same problem with the new version of Adobe. I had to go back to the Sony site and re-download the software to make it compatible with the 505 and haven’t had a problem since.

    ev, I believe your librarians are misinformed. At least on the 505 it counts down the time and will not open past the due date. I’ve never tried to put it on a memory card, so maybe, but otherwise it does expire and you’re not able to read it past the check out date.

  11. 11
    DS says:

    Right now our local library is struggling so I’m not going to complain all that much.  Maybe when times get a little better I will suggest that maybe a romance section full of Debbie Macomber and Danielle Steel is not the way to go.

    I don’t have the warm fuzzies for Overdrive due to some audiobooks I bought and then lost due to the hard drive on the computer with the key stored on it crashing before my regularly scheduled back up.  Overdrive was not helpful at all.

  12. 12
    liz m says:

    (sob) my library stopped offering digital content, so I did the search and it said the next town over offers it.

    But their sign in page crashes. So I emailed them.

    They rejected me for ‘spam potential’ I used an email address from another provider, they bounced that back as ‘undeliverable’.

    (Cries in pillow) So close!!

  13. 13
    meezergrrrl says:

    Oh yeah.  I saw NYPL and ePub and was over there like a shot…

    Johannes Cabal successfully checked out, dl’d and on the Sony 700 just like that!

    I’ve been doing e and audio through the NYPL for quite a few years now – maybe 5 or 6? As soon as I found out that the residency requirement for an NYPL library card includes the entire State of New York.

    The local library system up here (45 minutes south of Glens Falls, no less) doesn’t have it quite as good.  They only do audiobooks.  No e.

    Overdrive both is and is not a pain the butt. You may remember back a while ago when Fictionwise had a big to-do over Mobipocket books that were going to “expire” due to a contract negotiations that fell apart?  Yep. That was Overdrive. That said, I’ve never had a problem with any of their audio stuff (but I’m currently so behind on my audible listening, that it hasn’t really come up since I switched from my Palm to the iPhone/Pod Touch).  I discovered that they have a Mac client today, however, and it was no big deal to download and install on the Mini… so maybe things are getting better in the world of Mac.

    Now I just have to find time to read something that isn’t computer-related.

    several42… I think the answer to the universe is in there somewhere?

  14. 14
    Anonymous Librarian says:

    Could not agree more with Jessica. OverDrive: great concept, crappy execution & service.

  15. 15
    Anne says:

    Librarian chiming in:
    Just confirming that Overdrive has had MAC and iPod capabilities for quite a few months now.  The number of items available in those formats has been growing so perhaps Overdrive is on its way to resolving the problems with MAC. 

    Our library’s circulation of e-media has gone through the roof.  I’m hopeful that any currently clunky problems will eventually be resolved.  Strangely, I’ve had absolutely no problems with Overdrive.  But I use a PC and a Sansa mp3 so that may be the difference.

    Remember also that Overdrive does charge your library for books.  What you see at your library may not be all that’s available.  If your library’s selection is not to your liking, DO let your local library know what you would like to see.  Budgets are tight and now more than ever a library also has to know what its customers really want.  And if we miss it we want to know! 

    Really!  I thrive on customer input!

    Oh, and Jeff Scott’s youtube instructions are a great start to helping someone get started and gain confidence.  At least with the consortium we use.

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