Why Doesn’t the Library Have the eBook I Want?

Greetings, eBook readers.  When I help people navigate our OverDrive catalog of eBooks, two questions I am commonly asked are, “Why don’t you have the specific book I am looking for?” and, “Why don’t you have any books by this particular author?”  The answer to these questions, at least in many cases, is that the publisher simply won’t allow us access to those titles.

Last week, Penguin Group became the third major U.S. publisher to refuse to license eBooks to public libraries.  They also chose to stop offering their downloadable audiobook titles.  Penguin is the publisher of many popular authors, including Nora Roberts, Patricia Cornwell and Tom Clancy.  We already have quite a few titles by these authors in our OverDrive catalog, which you will still be able to check out, but we will be unable to acquire any new titles or additional copies.  The other two publishers, Macmillan and Simon & Schuster, have never allowed libraries to license their eBooks.  Unfortunately, this means that if you are looking to check out Walter Isaacson’s biography of Steve Jobs (Simon & Schuster) or the first sixteen books in the Stephanie Plum series (Macmillan) you are currently out of luck.

In addition, Penguin Kindle titles in our OverDrive catalog will no longer be delivered through a WiFi connection from Amazon.  These titles will need to be downloaded to your computer first and then transferred using a USB cord.  We offer instructions for transferring a Kindle book via USB in our Quick Start Guide.  Kindle titles from other publishers can still be delivered wirelessly.

As we continue to increase the size of our eBook collection, we hope you understand some of the limitations that are placed on us.  It is our mission to provide a wide variety of reading materials to a diverse group of readers, and we are always willing to take suggestions.

If you would like to contact the publishers mentioned above about their eBook licensing policies, please find their contact information below:

Macmillan Publishing
175 Fifth Avenue
New York, NY 10010

Simon & Schuster
1230 Avenue of the Americas
New York, NY 10020
(212) 698-7000

Penguin Group
375 Hudson Street
New York, NY 10014
(212) 366-2000

About Kirk

Your friendly neighborhood eBook support person.
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2 Responses to Why Doesn’t the Library Have the eBook I Want?

  1. Joy says:

    Some of us were also discussing how an e-book could be unavailable. We surmised that the library’s licenses must only allow a certain number of individuals to access the e-book at one time. Is that correct?

  2. Lauren says:

    Great question. Yes, eBook publishers established the “one patron per copy” loan rule as part of their agreements to make eBooks available for lending to libraries. For more in-demand titles we buy multiple “copies” or licenses, so that more than one patron may have the eBook at one time. So, one patron can access an eBook at a time unless the library buys multiple copies, just like print books.