Previously I discussed why you run into so many holds on items in OverDrive and some ways we are working to shorten the hold time for our patrons. Another one of the reasons that we don’t have enough copies of books to go around in due to publishing restrictions.
For some reason, publishers cannot embrace the idea of libraries allowing patrons to use ebooks and audiobooks in the same way as a physical book. Over the last two years we have had publishers increase prices on their books, changed from allowing us unlimited access to a purchased ebook or audiobook to making us buy a new one after 12 months, 24 months or 52 checkouts and even limited the number of books a Consortium can buy. These publishers include Penguin, Simon and Shuster, and MacMillian who publish such popular authors as Nora Roberts, Lisa Gardner, Stephen King, John Grisham, Lee Child, Lisa Scottoline, Linda Castillo and Kristin Hannah to just name a few.
If you Google MacMillian you will see that they have libraries up in arms with their current policy changes. They are allowing Consortium’s to purchase titles at $30 for the first eight weeks of release. After that, if you want more copies you have to pay $52 or more for a book. Remember the policy I mentioned before of how many copies of a book we would own? Sometimes with books like “Where the Crawdads Sing” it takes time for the buzz to catch on and for the holds to stack up and by then we could be past that first weeks of publishing driving the cost up for purchasing more copies of the book.
Also, did you catch those prices? How much do you pay for an audiobook or ebook on Amazon? On OverDrive audiobook prices can range from around $45 to over $100 for popular titles. Ebooks can be as low as $5.99 for less popular titles but the popular titles range from $55 – $109. Where book vendors give deep discounts to libraries and book stores for physical purchases, that’s not what’s happening in the electronic world.
OverDrive is a very popular service that we know our patrons appreciate. At the same time it can be very frustrating to see all the books that you want to read have a long wait on them. A suggestion from me is to make good use of the “wishlist” feature on OverDrive. If you want to read a book and it has a long wait, place the book on your wishlist. (There are no limits on the capacity of the wish list, but you are limited to 3 hold at a time.) When you are ready to read a book, go to your wish list, click “filter” and then click “available now.” The list will then show you all the books that you’ve been dying to read that are available at that time. This really eases your frustration of “finding nothing available.” Happy reading!