Overdrive is the popular service that libraries employ to facilitate the digital lending of ebooks. They have a strong presence in North America with over 11,000 libraries and K12 schools making the bulk of their clients. Recently they branched off into other countries such as Australia and the UK.
During the last year the company experienced growth in the number of companies wanting to do business with them and boons to the end user. Kindle library lending was the biggest story of the year and people can now borrow library books and have them delivered to their Kindle e-Reader or Tablet. They also made partnerships with new companies such as Softlink in Australia to open doors to other countries.
Since the beginning of the year we have been tabulating all of Overdrives success stories and what they did each month. In the interest of keeping things simple, here is a chronological listing of each major news item.
July – Hundreds attend Digipalooza in Cleveland (video)
What is Overdrive going to accomplish in 2012? We recently wrote a piece on how Overdrive needs to partner with companies like Amazon and Barnes and Noble directly to employ software to allow people to borrow books right on the device and have them wirelessly delivered. Right now the only company that does business with Overdrive is Sony via the new PRS-T1. Since it runs on the Android operating system the two companies made an app that facilitates the browsing and lending system right on the e-reader on an application that ships for free with the device. In order for e-readers and Overdrive to grow even more, they need to foster more relationships in the e-reader space.
They certainly have their work cut out for them this coming year. They are seeing competition in the library arena by 3M who is pioneering new “Discovery Terminals” that will allow customers to browse for e-books via a Kiosk in the library. It will feature easy to follow tutorials on how to borrow and load the books in your e-reader. 3M is going one step further and issuing libraries very low cost e-readers to lend out to their patrons. The devices will be setup so if you don’t bring the reader back to the library, it will be incompatible to do anything else and be cut off through the system. The big rumor is Germany based Txtr is providing the hardware or at least their technology into 3MS development labs.
Michael Kozlowski is the Editor in Chief of Good e-Reader. He has been writing about audiobooks and e-readers for the past ten years. His articles have been picked up by major and local news sources and websites such as the CNET, Engadget, Huffington Post and Verge.