August 29, 2014

OverDrive To Allow Library Sites to Include Publishers’ Ebook Backlists for Purchase

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OverDrive announced that its representatives were meeting with publishers and book retailers at the Frankfurt Book Fair this week touting its in-development WIN (Want It Now) Catalog. The optional service will feature “complete long-tail collections” of publishers’ backlist ebooks and audiobooks via the library-branded OverDrive websites. Though patrons won’t be able to borrow the backlist titles if they’re not already in a library’s collection, they will be able to purchase them directly, via links to outside ebook retailers.

According to OverDrive director of marketing David Burleigh, after each sale referred by a library, the retailer will pay an “affiliate fee”—an as-yet-unnamed percentage of the sale—to OverDrive; the referring library will be able to apply a credit of the entire amount of that fee toward its OverDrive collection.

Details of the user interface have yet to be finalized, but the WIN Catalog will also include browseable samples of titles from the backlists. According to Burleigh, patrons may also have the option to recommend that the library obtain a backlist title for lending.

All publishers that partner with OverDrive for library lending are “automatically a part of the WIN catalog,” Burleigh told LJ. The backlists will only include titles for which the publishers have library-lending rights.

The retailers involved have not yet been announced, but it seems likely that Amazon will be one of them, particularly in light of OverDrive’s recent integration of Kindle ebooks.

OverDrive’s LibraryBIN service has offered ebooks for sale since 2009, with a portion of proceeds going to libraries as credits, but it uses its own dedicated site and does not feature complete backlists.

OverDrive expects to test the WIN Catalog with a few pilot libraries “soon,” but no firm date has been set for when the service will go live for all OverDrive customers.

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David Rapp About David Rapp

Associate editor David Rapp previously covered technology for Library Journal.

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  3. [...] without the physical and timing limitations. Notably, it seems they’ve also side-stepped Overdrive’s new WIN (Want It Now) Catalog that allows library patrons to purchase books (and audiobooks) directly, via links to [...]

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