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OverDrive now offering more DRM-free library ebooks

Now that OverDrive  have a couple direct competitors for library ebooks, they're stepping up the game. Today they announced the latest publishers to offer DRM free library books through OverDrive.  There' aren't very many big name publishers on the list, but given that  this  didn't exist 3 months ago the progress that OverDrive made is impressive.

The titles from these publishers are still checked out under the one-copy/one-user model, just like all other OverDrive content. They're borrowed for a set amount of time and then they'll expire.

Update: Sorry, that previous paragraph shows I didn't really think this through. A DRM free ebook can't expire because the expiration is built into the DRM. So if someone checks out one of these titles they'll still be able to use it after the loan period ends.

It really raises the question of why OverDrive said that they will limit it to one check out at a time.  Think about it. After the 4th checkout there won't be just a single copy floating around; 4 copies will be usable. With that in mind it won't make much sense to bother checking out the ebooks. Just give them away.


  • AMG
  • Bold Strokes Books
  • Books to Go Now
  • Carina Press
  • Gideon Informatics
  • Joe Konrath
  • KBS
  • Microsoft Press
  • O’Reilly Media
  • Rock Nook
  • Romance Divine LLC
  • Rosenfeld Media
  • Sher Music
  • Simonelli Editore
  • TidBITS
  • University Press of Colorado
  • Wildside Press

image by JanneM

About Nate Hoffelder (11109 Articles)
Nate Hoffelder is the founder and editor of The Digital Reader: "I've been into reading ebooks since forever, but I only got my first ereader in July 2007. Everything quickly spiraled out of control from there. Before I started this blog in January 2010 I covered ebooks, ebook readers, and digital publishing for about 2 years as a part of MobileRead Forums. It's a great community, and being a member is a joy. But I thought I could make something out of how I covered the news for MobileRead, so I started this blog."

7 Comments on OverDrive now offering more DRM-free library ebooks

  1. I believe this last part, “then they’ll expire,” is incorrect. The e-books don’t expire. There’s no DRM to expire them.

    I strongly suspect this is handled like OverDrive does MP3 audiobooks. They allow one person per lending period to get a copy of the file. So if the lending period is two weeks, they’ll give out up to 26 copies per year (per copy purchased by the library).

    There is no way to “return” your copy, early or otherwise, and it doesn’t expire. It’s just a DRM-free EPUB.

  2. You’re right, sorry. My mind is elsewhere (Mars, today).

  3. I don’t understand this post at all.

  4. What is this? If the library books are DRM free, then doesn’t this end up just being a book giveaway service?

  5. Was wondering the same thing too, but caught Nate’s edit.

  6. They limit it to one check out at a time so it restricts the total copies given out over a set period of time. For example, if the loan period is 2 weeks, then a max of 26 copies would be downloaded from that library in a year.

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