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Old 07-23-2010, 05:03 PM   #1
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New OverDrive venture: buy eBooks and support libraries

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OverDrive has created LibraryBIN (Buy It Now), an online digital bookstore offering a comprehensive selection of eBooks for instant purchase and download. Participating OverDrive partner public libraries link to LibraryBIN from their OverDrive-hosted websites. LibraryBIN reaches a well-established user base: the millions of visitors to download library websites.
This post on OverDrive's blog is aimed at publishers, but the LibraryBIN website focuses on the benefit to participating libraries.

LibraryBIN: Here's How it Works
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Old 07-23-2010, 05:07 PM   #2
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and some more thoughts...

Looking briefly at pricing, it appears some titles are discounted 10%, but I haven't delved deep enough to figure out if that is just Random House, or includes the Agency 5.

As a professional fundraiser and potential buyer/donor, I'd like more transparency on:
  • a list of participating libraries BEFORE the point of sale
  • what percentage of a book goes to OverDrive, the publisher and the library - either averages or put that in the book listing?
  • do all OverDrive libraries automatically participate, or do they have to manually opt-in?
  • is there a fee that libraries have to pay to participate in LibraryBIN over and above their OverDrive contract?
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Old 07-23-2010, 06:33 PM   #3
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Originally Posted by simplyparticular View Post
As a professional fundraiser and potential buyer/donor, I'd like more transparency on:
  • a list of participating libraries BEFORE the point of sale
  • what percentage of a book goes to OverDrive, the publisher and the library - either averages or put that in the book listing?
  • do all OverDrive libraries automatically participate, or do they have to manually opt-in?
  • is there a fee that libraries have to pay to participate in LibraryBIN over and above their OverDrive contract?
I discovered LibraryBIN because one (out of five) of the library sites I can get access to has links to it.

They have a link with a (very simple) explanation of the program - which doesn't answer any of your questions! And beneath each ebook and audiobook, there's a link that says:

Quote:
Want to own this title? 'Buy it Now' at LibraryBIN - a digital bookstore that serves public libraries!
The fact that only one out of the five ebook libraries I visit offers this, I suspect it's something that's more "opt-in" than "all libraries". And, to your last point - given that it seems like a no-brainer to take a contribution if you have the option to get one - I do wonder if there's a premium they pay to belong.

When I first saw the links, I went to LibraryBIN to see if I could change "my library" from the one I came from to one of the other ones I visit, but like you, was frustrated that you actually have to buy a book to find out which libraries participate.
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Old 07-23-2010, 07:03 PM   #4
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This is interesting, thank you. My local library is signing up to overdrive soon, and certainly the lady running it does not seem to know much about how the system works. I will be interested to see if they have been encouraged to sign up for the buy it now system.
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Old 07-23-2010, 08:04 PM   #5
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I've never gone for the "buy this, we donate to that" deals. I buy what I want at the best price I can get, and if I want to donate to some charity, I write them a check. It's just a different form of greenwashing (or, given the Susan G. Komen foundation, pinkwashing?) and it's for the benefit of the corporation, not the charity, in the long run.

If I want to donate to my public library, I'll donate to my public library, not hope that they get a few pennies off of overpriced, DRM-restricted ebook purchases. That way, we both win.
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Old 07-23-2010, 08:06 PM   #6
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I did a quick price comparison using [I]61 Hours[I] by Lee Child.

Overdrive's LibraryBin is $26.60 for epub
Amazon/BN/Sony/Kobo is $9.99

Moon Sworn

LibraryBin is $7.59
Amazon/BN $6.39

Dont know if the additional mark-up goes to library or Overdrive is paying higher wholesale prices.
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Old 07-23-2010, 08:13 PM   #7
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Interesting but I wish it was a way to buy the actual eBook for your library.
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Old 07-23-2010, 08:36 PM   #8
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Interesting but I wish it was a way to buy the actual eBook for your library.
Me Too!
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Old 07-23-2010, 08:47 PM   #9
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Dont know if the additional mark-up goes to library or Overdrive is paying higher wholesale prices.
I wonder if OverDrive is using library pricing for some publishers. It's higher than retail (just like video stores pay a higher fee for DVDs because they'll be rented). OR it's just another example of the jacked up mess that is ebook pricing post-Agency 5.

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It's just a different form of greenwashing (or, given the Susan G. Komen foundation, pinkwashing?) and it's for the benefit of the corporation, not the charity, in the long run.

If I want to donate to my public library, I'll donate to my public library, not hope that they get a few pennies off of overpriced, DRM-restricted ebook purchases. That way, we both win.
That's one of the reasons that I posted the list of unanswered questions, so people can think about that before they spend. I have big issues with these kinds of corporate/fundraiser "partnerships." When you look up the skirt, there is rarely any benefit for the charitable organization - it's all window dressing for the corporation and feel-good for the consumer.

And don't get me started on breast cancer NFPs. Komen is a joke - if you asked 99% of the people who think they're donating to breast cancer, they have no idea how Komen (doesn't) spend the money. Last time I looked, Komen spent less on breast cancer research annually than all the other cancer charities combined, not to mention it has no outreach for cancer patients. But I'm sure there are a ton of marketing experts who manage their PR, and financial experts who manage their fund that are making nice commissions.

It's a major problem that most donors don't understand the different functions of endowment vs. foundation vs. traditional charity. And its an even greater problem that 501(c)3 organizations pop up like mushrooms everyday, most providing duplicative services.

Sorry, off my soapbox now.
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Old 07-23-2010, 09:26 PM   #10
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OK, so what this appears to be is a bookstore, run by Overdrive, that allows you and me to buy ebooks for our own pleasure, use and licensing. We can choose to buy at Amazon or B&N or Kobo or Overdrive.

Books purchased at Overdrive generate a "portion of the sale" margin (profit) which can be donated to a library of your choice, provided they participate. The library doesn't get the book you bought: you do. It gets some cash added to the bill.

There's nothing wrong with that as far as it goes but it is much more direct to simply find a way to donate $50 to your local library (and maybe even get a tax receipt).

What I would really like to see is an easy way for a library patron to help fund specific titles, or a bundle of titles, to be added to the local collection. My library (Toronto) is doing a decent job of adding ePub titles to the collection -- at least there are new titles appearing every week or two (not huge volumes, but there is movement). The drawback is I had no idea there were so many books being written about vampires .... I'd be delighted to help fund the acquisition of some traditional mysteries -- like Agatha Christie (the library has none to read, several to listen to) -- or the mysteries of home grown mystery publisher Dundurn Books which would add Canadian (and local) content.
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Old 07-23-2010, 09:33 PM   #11
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if I donated money to the local library to be used for eBooks, I'd want to be able to tell the librarian what eBooks I want purchased with the money.
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Old 07-23-2010, 09:43 PM   #12
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if I donated money to the local library to be used for eBooks, I'd want to be able to tell the librarian what eBooks I want purchased with the money.
Librarians probably want to have a say in what goes on the shelves. As much as I would like to influence circulating content as well, librarians are hired and trained to shape the collection based on community standards, interests and needs. So, I understand why they may insist on final say. If you donate physical books to a library, some may make it to the shelves; others will be tossed in a sale bin for fund raising.

That's why I am floating the "bundle of books" sponsorship idea. The library could choose a batch of ten titles, in various genres, and invite folks to donate specifically for this batch or that. That gives you the patron some direct influence without removing the role of librarian as final arbiter of content.
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Old 07-23-2010, 09:44 PM   #13
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What I would be worried about is that if I donated, the library would end up getting books I would not want to read and then that would be a total waste of my donate (for me).
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Old 07-23-2010, 10:49 PM   #14
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Librarians probably want to have a say in what goes on the shelves. As much as I would like to influence circulating content as well, librarians are hired and trained to shape the collection based on community standards, interests and needs. So, I understand why they may insist on final say. If you donate physical books to a library, some may make it to the shelves; others will be tossed in a sale bin for fund raising.

That's why I am floating the "bundle of books" sponsorship idea. The library could choose a batch of ten titles, in various genres, and invite folks to donate specifically for this batch or that. That gives you the patron some direct influence without removing the role of librarian as final arbiter of content.
I've donated to a school for needy kids that does that: The school picks books, then customers at a nearby bookstore donate money. Each customer gets to choose among those books. They're books for fun, such as "Harry Potter," not textbooks, of course.
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Old 07-24-2010, 12:03 AM   #15
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I've donated to a school for needy kids that does that: The school picks books, then customers at a nearby bookstore donate money. Each customer gets to choose among those books. They're books for fun, such as "Harry Potter," not textbooks, of course.
Sort of like a "wedding registry"... cool!
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