[Web4lib] RE: Overdrive

Jesse Ephraim JEphraim at ci.southlake.tx.us
Mon May 22 16:56:04 EDT 2006

>You might want to calculate into your analysis of the price the 
>"cannot be stolen" factor. 

That isn't much of a factor for us - we have a very, very low rate of
materials being stolen or not returned.  I know that isn't the case for
most libraries, though.
>I don't know how much the prices exceed the items on disk, but 
>you may get some savings (or be able to provide better overall service)

>through the timely return (also known as "expiration of loan"), and 
>through the elimination of loss...<other good stuff clipped>

Most of the benefits you cite are things that led us to get the
NetLibrary downloadable audiobooks.  I am all for new electronic
offerings, and we are very interested in downloadable movies, but
Overdrive's model for both audiobooks and movies (buy things by title,
at prices above that of DVDs) does not make as much economic sense as
does NetLibrary's buffet-style subscriptions.

Downloadable audiobooks have been a great success because they work so
well on MP3 players, which are becoming somewhat ubiquitous.  I am not
sure that downloadable movies will be as popular in the long run, since
most adult patrons will not want to watch them on their PCs, and will
not know how to burn copies.  They may turn out to be extremely popular,
though, and I do think we should carry them (as do my superiors), but we
are still working through the cost vs. number of movies issue that
Overdrive's business model presents.  If our choice is to get three
downloadable titles for $100 or 6 regular DVD versions (which most of
our patrons can and will use) at Best Buy, we have to take that into

If Overdrive's business model was like the NetLibrary one (buffet
style), my bet is that we would already have purchased a subscription
and had everything up-and-running.

Jesse Ephraim

Adult Services Librarian
Southlake Public Library
1400 Main Street, Suite 130
Southlake, TX  76092
(817) 748-8247
jephraim at ci.southlake.tx.us

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