Thoughts on “Libraries Got Screwed by Amazon and Overdrive”

Nothing Sarah is saying is wrong, in fact she’s completely correct. But, in the long run, asking Overdrive and Amazon to reform isn’t going to be the solution. By the way, saucy language towards the end of the video, so yeah, be warned.

We don’t use vendors to aggregate and distribute our physical collection.  Now, libraries use Overdrive to do that with ebooks because between licensing the content from the copyright holders and finding a way to distribute them to patrons, its easier to use Overdrive.

But, I doubt it will always be that way. I’ve heard that the bad service experienced by patrons from our online catalog vendor and Overdrive are because vendors that deal with libraries just aren’t that advanced. Simply put, there isn’t much money in providing services to libraries (which are always trying to drive down costs and have limited budgets to begin with).

So, in the long run distributing econtent to patrons is something that should be totally be brought in house, in the interest of our patrons (as outlined above) and because that’s just what we should be capable of doing on our own.



Filed under technology

6 responses to “Thoughts on “Libraries Got Screwed by Amazon and Overdrive”

  1. I agree 100% with everything you’re saying. I do think it’s worth trying to work with the vendors, however, to improve their services to us. We can simultaneously build our own services and platforms but it’s important to try to work with them too…and telling them what we don’t like is the only way we’ll get something we do like.

  2. Connelly

    I believe you underestimate libraries’ potential influence with vendors. The same budget constraints have been in effect for years and yet libraries have been able to work with publishing houses and distributors, in Timberland’s case Baker & Taylor, as a valued customer. Libraries represent a very steady, dependable client. The current difference is that libraries are purchasing the rights to only a copy or two of a ebook rather than the 5-40 copies of a hard copy.

    • emmettoconnell

      Another difference is that in terms of printed material, libraries deal with dozens of publishers and distributors. But, in terms of ebooks, they deal with practically only one.

  3. Scott M

    Just wondering how you envision “in house” distribution of e-content being accomplished? Cooperative development amongst libraries of a distribution system similar to Overdrive?

    • emmettoconnell

      Possibly a cooperative distribution system replicating overdrive. But, on the other end of the spectrum, possibly implementing an open source search and download system as part of the main resource management tool. The library would deal directly with publishers, authors and communities (Smashwords) to deal with licensing.

  4. Scott M

    Dealing directly with independent publishers is something that should be explored. Regarding a cooperative distribution system though, I think if those kind of resources could be harnessed, instead of using them to serve a relatively small segment of the library user population, they’d be better used developing an open source ILS that actually works and is designed for both all library users and library workers. Of course we’re just kind of spit-balling at this stage. A more realistic approach might be to stand up to vendors like SirsiDynix and demand better results from their products, or take our business elsewhere. Sorry to hijack your e-content thread, but I think an ILS built for modern libraries is a more pressing issue.

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