OverDrive’s Lastest Venture

June 6, 2012 at 7:50 pm Leave a comment

Last week I read OverDrive’s blog entry about their new browser-based eBook reader OverDrive Read that is due out later this year.  At first glance, it looks like it is designed to solve a variety of the problems we’ve had with DRM and awkward downloading.  According to their blurb, this new product “enables readers using standard web browsers to enjoy eBooks online and offline without first installing any software or activating their device.”  What could be negative about this?

The more I thought about it, the more questions it raised in my mind.  Sure, it will be great for Kindle Fires and Nook Tablets, but what about the lowly but extremely popular Nook Simple Touch and the new Nook Simple Touch with Glowlight.  Neither of these have web browsers that would support this technology.  The same would hold true for the older Kindles.  Thus, we’d have one group of patrons who could take advantage of  OverDrive Read and another group who would be left behind.  This immediately brought up the issue of staff and patron training – and how to reach those patrons affected.

Another part of OverDrive’s blog mentioned that OverDrive Read “will enable publishers, authors and retailers to benefit from more direct engagement with readers and to gather data about how users are discovering, browsing and selecting eBooks…”  Hmmmm…. that gathering data bit struck me as a bit strange.  Will retailers be able to track our library patrons’ reading tastes?  Granted, Amazon does that for their Kindle users, but as a library, I don’t want to be a party to this.  I need to find out just exactly how this tracking is done and what will be done to protect our user’s privacy.

In two weeks I’ll be heading off to ALA and will certainly take time to talk with our OverDrive representatives and get additional details about this new product.  In the meantime, forgive me if I sound just a bit skeptical.  To read the complete blog entry, go to:



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Well Rounded Librarian by Kathy Petlewski is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-Share Alike 3.0 United States License.

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