Lending Ending: Penguin Cuts Ties with OverDrive
Penguin is ending its relationship with digital library distributor OverDrive effective today and will "stop offering e-books and digital audiobooks to libraries--at least until it finds a new partner," paidContent reported, adding that Random House is now the sole of the six major U.S. publishers "to allow unrestricted access to its e-books in libraries--though it will raise prices beginning in March."
The American Library Association, which met with big-six publishers regarding the issue of digital book borrowing cutting into paid sales, noted that a "key issue that arose in each meeting is the degree to which 'friction' may decline in the e-book lending transaction as compared to lending print books. From the publisher viewpoint, this friction provides some measure of security. Borrowing a print book from a library involves a nontrivial amount of personal work that often involves two trips--one to pick up the book and one to return it. The online availability of e-books alters this friction calculation, and publishers are concerned that the ready download-ability of library e-books could have an adverse effect on sales."
Penguin is "continuing to talk about our future plans for e-book and digital audiobook availability for library lending with a number of partners providing these services," the publisher said in a statement.
OverDrive CEO Steve Potash told the Associated Press (via the Wall Street Journal) that he is still "actively working" with Penguin on the issue.