News You Can Use

Kindle library download date? OverDrive delivered a clear but cryptic clue at Digipalooza, a user’s group meeting of 450 librarians chomping at the bit to find out when the largest provider of digital content to public libraries would integrate the Kindle into the list of compatible consumer devices. But even though the conversations revolved around the theme of “Managing the  eBook Explosion,” there was plenty of audiobook news you can use. Here are some top take-aways from the meeting last weekend:

In most of the statistics shared by librarians representing systems large & small, audiobook downloads still exceed eBook downloads.

Audiobook patrons have already dealt with the dead/disappearing format syndrome – cassette to CD to downloads in WMA to MP3 formats – and are the library patrons most comfortable with consuming content in various containers.

In the publisher’s panel, the message was that CDs are still strong, with the majority of current sales in physical format, and will continue to be produced as long as there are cars with CD players.

Librarians want audio publishers to provide Advance Listening Copies so that reviews of audiobooks appear closer to release date, alongside print reviews (and I can attest that this is already happening – my last two reviews for Booklist were of ALC titles)

Questions about availability of titles in physical vs. digital formats were answered by publishers with the repeated refrain that rights management is Very Complicated – backlist titles must have contracts re-negotiated prior to digital release (in both eBook or downloadable audio format), occasionally the voice actor will have additional contractual rights, audio is a sub-right that can be sold to a different publisher than print or eBook, world rights depend on country copyright law, etc.

OverDrive will be focused on a move to providing the least restrictive format of each download – Open EPUB for eBooks, MP3 for audiobooks – working with publishers to maintain rights protection while satisfying ease of use for patrons.

OverDrive wants the library’s web presence as the first stop for patrons looking for digital content – the new OverDrive WIN platform will consolidate formats as just “eBook” or “audiobook” – no more list of all possible digital variations. Patrons will use a device wizard to have the compatible content downloaded.

The WIN platform will also allow patrons to see ALL copyrighted digital formats available through OverDrive, and allow patron suggestions for purchase.

If the patron does not find the desired item available through their library while browsing WIN, they may purchase the item though affiliate vendors, with libraries receiving a small payment from each sale.

OverDrive will have a Children’s/Young Adult specific Content Wire new release alert newsletter soon.

For more Digipalooza discussions, check out Twitter #digip11

And the Kindle…

Patrons will search via the library’s OverDrive platform, with all of the library’s existing purchased eBook content (no matter what format)  available for Kindle download. Any Kindle user may access this content, whether on the device or through a Kindle app. The patron will click a “Get from Amazon” button and finish the download process through Amazon, with all of the Kindle experience features intact – bookmarks, highlighting, WhisperSync.

The “Get from Kindle” button will only allow eBook downloads to the Kindle at launch, not audiobooks – a question libraries may receive from patrons who currently purchase audiobooks delivered directly from the Kindle store.

However, currently patrons may download any MP3 format audiobook from OverDrive and drag & drop it onto eBook readers that have a music player function – as does the Kindle and Nook.

Oh, and that cryptic clue on when OverDrive’s roll-out of Kindle downloads will begin? OverDrive CEO Steve Potash reminded attendees that, legally, he could not actually name the date but assured us that if we paid close attention to the Big Four Themes for the coming download deluge, we could figure out the clue. So don your Sherlock Holmes hat…

From Potash’s Crystal Ball:

Streaming: Watch for Open EPUB & HTML5 to bring interactive streaming downloads

Ebooks everywhere: every device, all the time (even your refrigerator)

Premium: make your library website the premium first-stop for downloads

Traffic: prepare for incredible traffic increase for digital downloads (100%)

It’s coming sooner than you think 🙂 !







About the Author:

Mary Burkey is an independent library consultant in Columbus (OH). An enthusiastic audiophile, she has served on all four of ALA's audiobook award committees as well as the Audies. In addition to writing the "Voices in My Head" column for Booklist, she is the author of Audiobooks for Youth: A Practical Guide to Sound Literature (ALA, 2013). Follow her on Twitter at @mburkey.

2 Comments on "News You Can Use"

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  1.' audiobooks says:

    I am glad libraries let you listen to audio books for free.

  2. Thank you for this summary, Mary. There is always SO MUCH to keep up with in this industry.

    I’m catching up to it a little late, but I’ll keep the conversation going by posting / tweeting it now!

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