Leading library ebook distributor OverDrive was sold to Rakuten on March 19 for $410 million cash, more than 16 times OverDrive’s annual earnings of $25 million. The purchase from private equity firm Insight Venture Partners, OverDrive’s majority owner since 2010, is scheduled to close in April. OverDrive will become a subsidiary of Rakuten USA, the U.S. arm of Japanese e-commerce company Rakuten. CEO Steve Potash will continue to lead OverDrive, and its headquarters will remain in Cleveland, OH.
The Cuyahoga County Public Library (CCPL), Pioneer Library System (PLS), Hennepin County Library (HCL), and Mid-Continent Public Library (MCPL) were among several library systems that broke single-day ebook and audiobook-lending records this past Christmas, according to an announcement by OverDrive.In separate news, 3M last month achieved a milestone in its goal to make ebook searching a completely seamless experience.
Steve Potash, OverDrive President and CEO, discusses several new developments at the company, including new APIs to simplify ebook integration, the new OverDrive Read browser-based ereader, and the company’s new WIN catalog, as part of a series of Q&As leading up to “The Digital Shift: Libraries, Ebooks and Beyond,” LJ’s third annual ebook summit on Wednesday, October 17.