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Old 09-04-2010, 06:24 PM   #1
Fat Abe
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Stop Using Overdrive

Overdrive.com has a virtual monopoly on ebook lending. It serves thousands of libraries in the United States, and by virtue of being one of the earliest providers, it continues to service many libraries. But success can be too much of a good thing. Due to (near) monopoly pricing by Overdrive, libraries can only afford to have a finite number of each title available for lending. I realize that there are exceptions, e.g., the FLP uses a dynamic server for certain books, however, the most popular books are heavily controlled in terms of distribution. But, you might say, "That's capitalism, Abe!"

After receiving this message

You are patron 99 out of 100 on the waiting list.

when I recently added a book on erotic poetry to my Hold list, I became very upset, and began thinking of ways to game the system.

1. I rate every book I would like to borrow with one star, to discourage other people borrowing.

2. I no longer tell my friends about e-borrowing, or even disclose the libraries where I obtain technical books. Search for yourself, buddy.

3. Every library appears to have a section for new books. If you know when the list gets updated, then log in early to reserve your books. I'm thinking about borrowing Carl Weber's "So You Call Yourself A Man" from FLP. Just go to http://freelibrary.lib.overdrive.com/, and punch in the name of the book, if you have not heard of it before.

4. Keep your borrowing periods short. This is not only a courtesy to other patrons, but necessary to managing your queue of books. The FLP has a policy of no more than 10 books out at a time. You can return books early through ADE, but let me give you a warning. On one account (not the FLP), I flushed out the borrowed books to make room for a new set. This caused an account lockout. There is a preset limit, possibly, of around 20 books per week.

5. Encourage your sons and daughters to join the system. This can increase the number of books you borrow. I have not experimented with this technique on more than one computer. If you happen to be a slow reader, who needs more than 3 weeks to read a book, then use your other account to place the book on hold. Some would consider this suggestion very unethical, but, hey, the system should accommodate the learning disabled. That's the law.

In summary, I have now given you some of my best tips for optimizing the use of Overdrive. One last tip: Keep pushing Kindles on your friends, acquaintances, and enemies. Amazon does not support Adobe Digital Editions. Very devious idea, doncha think?
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Old 09-04-2010, 06:27 PM   #2
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Old 09-04-2010, 09:37 PM   #3
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Crafty!!

I have K1 and borrow books from the library.

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Old 09-04-2010, 09:41 PM   #4
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Do you really think this is an Overdrive limitation?

If you look at your library's purchases, you'll see they buy...say...200 copies of current "bestseller" novel in print, but only 1 or 2 digital copies.

I blame that on my library, not Overdrive.

On the other hand, I have read before if you return books too quickly, you'll get locked out for something like two days. I think that's a little shortsighted - it should be based on how many you turn in too soon.

I discovered it the hard way when I downloaded a book that I realized I'd already read and immediately returned it. Locked out for two days.

On the other hand, I routinely return most books after 4 or 5 days, and don't get locked out on those.
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Old 09-04-2010, 09:53 PM   #5
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Originally Posted by FizzyWater View Post
On the other hand, I have read before if you return books too quickly, you'll get locked out for something like two days. I think that's a little shortsighted - it should be based on how many you turn in too soon.

I discovered it the hard way when I downloaded a book that I realized I'd already read and immediately returned it. Locked out for two days.
That's absolutely disgusting! A library is not supposed to game a profit like Netflix, they're intended to disseminate knowledge.
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Old 09-04-2010, 10:22 PM   #6
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I honestly don't think they're doing it for a profit. I think they're fearful that some people will download books, deDRM them, "return" them, and get more.

It's piracy paranoia, rather than library greed, IMO.
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Old 09-04-2010, 10:24 PM   #7
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I have a book out from the library. How can I return it early? I suppose once it is on my reader then I don't have to worry about returning it. I assume it will just lock or something after the borrow period. So what do I have to do to return the book? Thanks
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Old 09-04-2010, 10:26 PM   #8
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I extrapolated it as an requirement handed down by OverDrive to reduce bandwidth costs, just like Netflix slows down heavy uses to reduce postage costs.

I don't like Netflix doing it, but they are in it for money. If it bothers me enough I can take my business elsewhere.

A library is not the same type of entity, and I feel it is unfair of Overdrive to make such an imposition. This actually has pissed me off enough to boycott Overdrive, not that my local library had more than 33 epubs anyways...
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Old 09-04-2010, 11:28 PM   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by FizzyWater View Post
I discovered it the hard way when I downloaded a book that I realized I'd already read and immediately returned it. Locked out for two days.
How were you notified of the lockout? Did they send you an email, or did a message pop up saying you were locked out when you tried to log on to download another book?

I have returned library ebooks within a day or two and have not yet experienced a "lock out".
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Old 09-04-2010, 11:40 PM   #10
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How were you notified of the lockout? Did they send you an email, or did a message pop up saying you were locked out when you tried to log on to download another book?
No, actually, I got a message that said something to the effective of "there's trouble with your card, come in and talk to us". Well, it's a CLEVNET library card, and I live two hours from the nearest branch, so I figured I was going to be locked out for awhile.

I read (somewhere - probably another thread here) about the two-day lockout for "suspicious activity", so I checked back each day. I was locked out for those two days, then my access was reinstated.

Since I never went into a branch to clear up the issue, I assumed it was the "suspicious activity" locked the other poster mentioned.
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Old 09-05-2010, 12:26 AM   #11
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Kiasmama View Post
I have a book out from the library. How can I return it early? I suppose once it is on my reader then I don't have to worry about returning it. I assume it will just lock or something after the borrow period. So what do I have to do to return the book? Thanks
Start Adobe Digital Editions. Put your mouse over the book cover, then look for a triangle button, near/above the left corner of the cover. Bring your mouse over to this button, which then causes a balloon to appear (Item Options). Left click this. One of the options is to return a book. It will no longer be available on your reading list. (Make sure you delete the file from you My Digital Editions folder). This is a perfectly logical feature to implement. If a person were borrowing a paper book from the library, there is no restriction on early returns. Why impose this on e-borrowers?

Now, as stated in my original thread, there is a lockout which is imposed for borrowing X ebooks in Y days. This makes more sense, as it evens out the bandwidth and costs to the library. I never suggested using Overdrive like Netflix, as one individual has mentioned. If one ignores the humorous paragraphs in the first thread, the flaw in the Overdrive lending system is the fact that they never anticipated this much usage or early adoption. Someone built a highway, and then they realized they had to build another highway, but did not budget for it. The library offers a public service, paid for by tax dollars. In my state, my annual income tax bill is over 5 figures. I also pay taxes in every state where I work or live, just as Kobe Bryant does. The library is one of the few institutions where I feel my money is being spent properly. As we move toward the future, there will come a point in time where more books are borrowed in ebook form than pbook form. Is anyone planning ahead? I hope they are.

Last edited by Fat Abe; 09-06-2010 at 05:02 PM. Reason: Clarify instructions
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Old 09-05-2010, 01:59 AM   #12
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I think they are.
Libraries are in a bit of a bind in the US I read in that they don't own the ebooks they lend out, but instead pay a fee per borrow.
Probably they calculate thier budget based on an average borrowing time per book.

I doubt that they care if you de-DRM the book for your personal use but if they are charged a significant sum per loan (say $0.25 tp $1) and 2000 users each borrow 5 books per week, returning them automatically in 7 days this cost $2500 to $10,000 per week.
Even at $0.01 per book this is $100 a week and many libraries have more than 2000 ebook borrowers. And it is a rapidly expanding market.

People borrowing more than they read for whatever reason can put a strain on the system as a whole.

Being 99th on the waiting list may seem intolerable, but is it really? People drop out because they choose something else and have two many on hold or miss the notice from the library that it is available. And I have waited months for a pbook hold so is this any different?

Getting multiple cards you are not legitimately entitled to is precisely the same as pushing your way to the front of the line-up and refusing to budge because you are in a hurry.

Like read another book already.

Helen
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Old 09-05-2010, 07:39 AM   #13
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I doubt that they care if you de-DRM the book for your personal use but if they are charged a significant sum per loan (say $0.25 tp $1) and 2000 users each borrow 5 books per week, returning them automatically in 7 days this cost $2500 to $10,000 per week.
Even at $0.01 per book this is $100 a week and many libraries have more than 2000 ebook borrowers. And it is a rapidly expanding market.
There must be some cost to setup the service, but the primary cost structure is based on buying the ebooks. This is the approach that libraries (and publishers) understand. So, if a library has a long waiting list for an ebook they can buy extra copies of that title. I am basing this on material that used to be on Overdrives web site but isn't there any more, so they may have changed their pricing model recently. However, libraries understand how to manage their budget by buying books - so it would be dangerous for OverDrive to switch to a different approach.
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Old 09-05-2010, 08:24 AM   #14
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Yikes. I routinely return books early -- often within a day or two -- but I haven't experienced a lockout yet. Do I need to stop doing that, I wonder? I'm only doing it because it seems the polite thing to do if I'm finished with it and there are other people waiting.
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Old 09-05-2010, 01:11 PM   #15
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I've checked out three books so far, all of them ADE. However, only one had the "return" option. The others appeared in my "purchased" books and only had a "delete" option. I feel bad about not being able to return the books I finished quickly, but I don't know what to do about it.
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