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Old 02-24-2011, 04:02 PM   #1
grouch2
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New eBook and digital content licensing terms for library lending

This is an excerpt from an email sent out to libraries who offer downloadable eBooks through OverDrive:

New eBook and digital content licensing terms for library lending
The past several months have brought about dramatic changes for the print and eBook publishing and retail industries. Digital book sales are now a significant percentage of all publisher and author revenue. As a result several trade publishers are re-evaluating eBook licensing terms for library lending services. Publishers are expressing concern and debating their digital future where a single eBook license to a library may never expire, never wear out, and never need replacement.
OverDrive is advocating on behalf of your readers to have access to the widest catalog of the best copyrighted, premium materials, and lending options. To provide you with the best options, we have been required to accept and accommodate new terms for eBook lending as established by certain publishers. Next week, OverDrive will communicate a licensing change from a publisher that, while still operating under the one-copy/one-user model, will include a checkout limit for each eBook licensed. Under this publisher’s requirement, for every new eBook licensed, the library (and the OverDrive platform) will make the eBook available to one customer at a time until the total number of permitted checkouts is reached. This eBook lending condition will be required of all eBook vendors or distributors offering this publisher’s titles for library lending (not just OverDrive).
In advance of any licensing changes going into effect, we will communicate the details (effective date, how to order, etc.), through “Critical Alerts” in Content Reserve. Any eBook license term changes will not be retroactive or affect titles already licensed and in your OverDrive catalogs, prior to the effective date. In an effort to reduce library and patron confusion during this transition period, we will also develop clear and well-marked indications on any eBook or other titles in Content Reserve that are subject to new or modified publisher terms. At present, these lending model changes do not affect audiobooks, and are not wide-reaching, and instead limited to a one publisher’s content.
In addition, our publishing partners have expressed concerns regarding the card issuance policies and qualification of patrons who have access to OverDrive supplied digital content. Addressing these concerns will require OverDrive and our library partners to cooperate to honor geographic
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and territorial rights for digital book lending, as well as to review and audit policies regarding an eBook borrower’s relationship to the library (i.e. customer lives, works, attends school in service area, etc.). I can assure you OverDrive is not interested in managing or having any say in your library policies and issues. Select publisher terms and conditions require us to work toward their comfort that the library eBook lending is in compliance with publisher requirements on these topics.
Another area of publisher concern that OverDrive is responding to is the size and makeup of large consortia and shared collections. Publishers seek to ensure that sufficient copies of their content are being licensed to service demand of the library’s service area, while at the same time balance the interests of publisher’s retail partners who are focused on unit sales. Publishers are reviewing benchmarks figures from library sales of print books and CDs for audiobooks and do not want these unit sales and revenue to be dramatically reduced by the license of digital books to libraries.
My team is working with publishers and librarians to streamline, consolidate, and manage these issues. We seek to make ordering digital book materials a good value proposition for our library partners. As a partner to libraries and also as a distributor working with publishers, we are in the position where we must balance sometimes competing needs and interests. I ask you to bear with us as we work together to adjust to this changing landscape and evolving terms and conditions.
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