Public libraries around the world have robust audiobook and e-book catalogs. In order to transport this digital material, they have to do business with a digital distributor such as Overdrive, Cloud Library, Hoopla and many others. These companies have developed relationships with all of the major publishers, and they all have drastically different terms and conditions. Some have editions restrictions before the title is re-purchased, while others allow a copy to be made for each user. Digital content cannot be purchased for a one-time fee and can be borrowed an unlimited number of times.
Audiobooks and e-books can be listened to on countless devices. Kobo’s range of e-readers has Overdrive integration so that users only need to enter their library card into the settings menu and browse, borrow and read their local branch collection right on the reader. If you have a Barnes and Noble Nook, you’ll need to download Adobe Digital Editions, download the e-book from the library website, and then ADE side-load the book. The Amazon Kindle can have e-books automatically sent from the library with the download to the Kindle program, but this only works in the US. Android e-readers, smartphones and tablets can usually download the Libby, Cloud Library or Hoopla app from the Apple App Store or Google Play, these offer a smooth rental experience.
How much do libraries have to pay for each of the major publishers like Hachette, HarperCollins, Penguin Random House or Simon & Schuster? Every year Good e-Reader breaks down the publisher’s loan terms so everyone can know. This will help the average user understand what is going on, but it will also provide valuable data for public libraries. Thanks to Overdrive for continuing to provide Good e-Reader with meaningful data.