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Old 08-25-2009, 02:36 PM   #1
Bob Russell
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Public Library - Overdrive e-book selection?

I know that the available e-books from public libraries using Overdrive are not consistent. They apparently are determined by the subscription terms (and costs). Anyone have experience reading them? Some set of the e-books will apparently be accessible for Sony Reader devices soon. And people report using the borrowed books on Kindles as well.

For Overdrive e-books through public libraries in the US...
  • Are best sellering titles offered?
  • How soon do they appear?
  • Are other popular current interest books also available, such as politics or biographies etc?
  • Do you read lended e-books right not?
  • What format/device?
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Old 08-25-2009, 03:24 PM   #2
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I have checked out a few ebooks from the King County Library, and at this time all they stock is Adobe PDF (and Mobipocket). The choices are a limited mix of all varieties (politics, biographies, computer, business, and fiction of all flavors). Old and new, but again, limited amount of books.

The Adobe PDF, as you know is not perfect for the Sony, but is serviceable as long as you don't mind every 2nd or 3rd page having that awkward break.

I have applied for a Seattle Library card (available for most of King County residents) and just need to show up at a branch asnd present my ID to finalize the deal. The Seattle Library also has Adobe EPub and PDF. I will much prefer the ePub of course, but again it is a mix of ePub and PDF. No consistency there.

All in all a pretty good deal!
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Old 08-25-2009, 03:32 PM   #3
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My local library does not have a partnership with overdrive but it does have one with something called NetLibrary and they claim that I have access to something like 46,000 ebooks through them. I am in the process of checking it out so we will see if it is any good.
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Old 08-25-2009, 03:41 PM   #4
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I too use the public libraries - with cards at three different ones. The availability of new releases is all over the map. "Scarecrow" by Michael Connelly and "Hold Tight" by Harlan Coben were available at the library within a couple of weeks of being available at Amazon. But other things just never show up, and library offerings are truly library specific. Since I'm a Kindle user, I have to go through the conversion process, but after a couple of times, it takes seconds to do.

Some of the biggest library collections are New York City library (although they have stopped selling non-resident cards), Cleveland Library and the King County Library mentioned above. You can go to the overdrive site: http://search.overdrive.com/ and search for any book or author and they will show which libraries carry it. Maybe this can give you a more conclusive answer for the books you like.

cheers
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Old 08-25-2009, 03:44 PM   #5
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I've been downloading ebooks and audiobooks from both the Seattle and King County library systems for about 3 years now. When I want to find out if a book is available, I generally go directly to overdrive's search site first: http://search.overdrive.com/ They have a great search function with links to the libraries that carry any given book; you can also search by zip code to find out what (if any) library in your area has ebooks available for download.

Overdrive usually has books available to the libraries before the publication date, and the individual libraries have the option of posting them and allowing you to put a hold on them to have a better chance of getting a copy when the publication date arrives. The library will then email you when a copy is available. Some libraries take advantage of this, some wait until after the publication date to obtain the book. When it comes to upcoming releases that I'm really looking forward to, I tend to start checking the overdrive site a month or two before the publication date, hoping to get on the wait list as early as possible (I mainly do this because it's easier than checking the two library systems separately).

My best guess is that as a general rule the larger your library system is, the higher their budget, and consequently the better the selection. Also, new libraries are being added all the time, and the longer your library has been offering ebooks, the better their selection will be.
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Old 08-25-2009, 03:44 PM   #6
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My experience:

1) Very few best sellers are available and not quickly. I have observed one or two "best sellers" appearing the following year of release. Other new releases, but not necessarily best sellers, occasionally become available anywhere from 6-12 months. Of course, this is all dependent on the individual library and what kind of contract they maintain with Overdrive, etc. What I have noticed with my libraries (several in my area of the state) is that much of the selection is the same with different libraries using Overdrive. Bottom line: if you prefer best sellers and current events, buy them.

2) See above

3) There are some nonfiction and biographies/autobiographies available, but they are a very small percentage compared to fiction titles, in my experience. With all the libraries I have patronized or browsed the overwhelming majority of titles appears to be fiction with a heavy emphasis on romance rubbish (sorry - no offense meant to romance enthusiasts). For people like me who prefer nonfiction, biographies and current events, the selection is woefully inadequate IMHO.

3) Yes, but only a few

4) Kindle DX, K2.

With the current economic situation, any hope of increasing/improving library e-inventories is most likely slim. I have had conversations with my local (and large) libraries who have told me that any hope of ebooks, or ebook expansion has been put on hold.
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Old 08-25-2009, 03:46 PM   #7
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Here in Central Texas we have Netlibrary. I longer use the service because all books must be read online. Also they do not offer any recent novels. There are audio books available and those can be downloaded to your MP3 player. Again, I have never found anything worth listening to. Selections are really limited. This is the downside of living in a small town. I have considered paying the yearly fee for membership in Dallas, Houston, or any of the larger cities. The best system I have experienced was in Alexandria, VA (Fairfax County). Great new novels. I was able to have a card when I was still in the military (I was still considered a resident eventhough I was in Texas). Now that I have retired I no longer have my card. Another reason why I miss home.

Ellen
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Old 08-25-2009, 04:49 PM   #8
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The Chicago Public Library has overdrive. I have a Kindle, but as Leep says, it is pretty quick. For what I like to read right now (romance, mystery), the selection is great. There is always another book to check out when I finish my current book. But it doesn't look like best sellers are widely available.
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Old 08-25-2009, 05:23 PM   #9
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I just did a quick check of the books on the NY Times Bestseller list this week - PB and HB, fiction and nonfiction. Of the top 5 on each list, Overdrive has most (80% or more) BUT very few libraries have picked them up yet, at least as ebooks. Audiobooks seem to be picked up much more quickly.
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Old 08-26-2009, 12:55 AM   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Sydney's Mom View Post
The Chicago Public Library has overdrive. I have a Kindle, but as Leep says, it is pretty quick. For what I like to read right now (romance, mystery), the selection is great. There is always another book to check out when I finish my current book. But it doesn't look like best sellers are widely available.
Ok, either our definitions of great selection are completely different, or I was on the wrong site. I looked at CPL's mystery ebooks and they only had 191 titles?
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Old 08-26-2009, 01:34 AM   #11
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The Greater Phoenix Area Libraries has a TON of books of all genres. Mobi and pdf at this time. Im hoping for epub soon.

I would love for friends or family from Michigan to share a card with access to the Michigan Library Consortium. They have very recent releases in epub.

Man. I love to read.

I love these new Ebook readers!
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