Overdrive is the most prevalent system libraries employ to facilitate the lending of ebooks. The service is found in close to 20,000 different libraries in the USA and Canada. The company has also made inroads to open up their digital service in Australia, the UK, and other markets. Many seniors and non-tech savvy people are starting to buy e-readers because the devices have come down so much in price and have garnered more attention in popular culture. In order to make lives easier for the users, Overdrive needs to build relationships with different companies to run the application on a variety of devices.
One of the best examples of the new partnerships Overdrive is fostering is with Sony. The new PRS-T1, which is the only e-reader currently marketed as bundled with an Overdrive application right out of the box. It allows you to browse for the library you belong to and download books right to the reader. All you need to do is enter your library card number and your four digit pin code in order to borrow books. If the book you want is not available, you can put a hold on it.
The Sony and Overdrive relationship is a fine example of how the library digital software company could work with large companies to have their software bundled on the readers. We receive emails all the time from older users who find the established method of borrowing books and loading them on your reader is a difficult procedure. If you are not technically savvy, it is a exercise in patience and a tedious effort to plug your device into your computer and transfer the books via Adobe Digital Editions or other software.
The new Sony PRS-T1 runs on the Android operating system and many other readers on the market currently do as well. The entire Barnes and Noble Nook line of e-book readers all run Android and it would not be complicated to pre-load the software on the devices by the company. It would give them an added selling point in the ultra-competitive USA market where Amazon has tremendous market share.
In order for e-readers to gain more popularity with the Baby Boomer generation and older people, more e-readers need to iron out a relationship with Overdrive. Times are tough financially for a many people and the older you get you will find yourself on a more fixed income. People who love to read and find themselves downloading a ton of books would have to check themselves to stay on budget. Overdrive provides a great alternative to buying the books because you can simply borrow them for two weeks, which is enough time for a voracious reader.
If the Overdrive application were to come installed on e-readers right out of the gate, not only would users gain tremendous benefits, but Overdrive would make more money, too. More libraries may start to do business with Overdrive if people not in a digital market could petition their local outlet to start carrying ebooks.
Really, I fail to see why others can’t come to terms and join forces, if Sony and Overdrive have already proven it can be a successful combination.
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.