January 27, 2022

OverDrive Suspends Pre-ordering of Harry Potter Ebooks


Ebook distributor OverDrive suspended pre-sales of Harry Potter ebooks and digital audio books this week, pulling cover images from library databases that had already pre-ordered the books for its April 30 launch.

OverDrive attributed the decision to “coordinating launch plans with Pottermore,” the online base for Harry Potter, according to a post on OverDrive’s Digital Library Blog for library partners.

“The postponement is just to coordinate the marketing efforts,” says Michael Lovett, social media and public relations specialist for OverDrive, based in Cleveland, OH. “There hasn’t been any effect on the ultimate availability of the books.”

And yet the decision to halt pre-sales and pull cover imagery from library databases has sent at least one library group into pre-Potter jitters.

Eileen Chandler

Eileen Chandler, member services manager for the Cape Libraries Automated Materials Sharing (CLAMS), a 34-member library consortium in Hyannis, MA, went to place orders for additional digital copies of the Harry Potter series from ebook warehouse Content Reserve on Friday, March 16, but couldn’t find the titles. Chandler grew nervous, particularly after Penguin’s titles were recently pulled.

Chandler contacted Content Reserve, but had to wait until Monday to hear about the postponement.

“Confidence in providing access to ebooks has been dented quite a bit with the recent Penguin situation and the 300 percent price increase for Random House titles,” says Chandler by email. “We are left with [a] very long wait list for many Penguin titles and we have no way of adding new copies.”

As a result, Chandler is pulling her catalog records for the Harry Potter ebooks, as patrons have no way to locate the titles to reserve them. Yet as of last week, patrons could locate the titles at the New York Public Library’s website and put their name on a waiting list, according to a story on paidContent. As of this afternoon, March 20, however, those titles were missing from the library’s ebook catalog.

Pottermore did not respond to requests for comment. But OverDrive is assuring libraries that they will again be able to pre-order titles soon.

“This is only a postponement, and libraries will soon be able to resume pre-ordering the title in preparation for launch in April,” reads the company’s post.


Lauren Barack About Lauren Barack

School Library Journal contributing editor Lauren Barack writes about the connection between media and education, business, and technology. A recipient of the Loeb Award for online journalism, she can be found at www.laurenbarack.com.


  1. Interesting information. I too, have seen dramatic price increase. Competition will drive the prices back down again. The phone companies are a good example of that. What a lot of companies don’t understand is that brand loyalty is only worthwhile if you keep your prices at a reasonable rate. Once you lose that customer base, it very rarely returns unless you drop your prices far below the competition. So the question is, wouldn’t it have been better to retain your customers and keep them happy? Most people will not go elsewhere for 10% or 15% if you support them. We try to support our niche customer base with information about eBook readers for kids. We believe that learning starts at an early age. You can see that here. Ebooks

  2. I just received an email from OverDrive. Harry Potter titles are now, once again, visible in Content Reserve so libaries may pre-order. Potter titles will be available to patrons for check out starting March 29th, a month earlier than initially expected. All holds placed before they were temporarily pulled, will be honored. They have not been restored yet in our public OverDrive catalog.

  3. The titles are back in our public catalog but only in epub format??

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