Proquest Acquires OverDrive Competitor MyiLibrary

6325113190_6d22111ba0_bHere's a bit of ebook news which didn't get the attention it deserved this week.

Proquest announced a deal on Thursday  to acquire Ingram's library services unit. In particular, Proquest is buying Coutts Information Services from Ingram Content Group, including both the MyiLibrary platform and content acquisition and management tools (iPage, OASIS etc).

Update: Ingram is nitpicking the preceding paragraph, and wanted me to add the following clarification:

ProQuest is acquiring Coutts, but Ingram is keeping Ingram Library Services.  Ingram Library Services is a separate company that serves the K-12 libraries and public libraries. Ingram is very much staying in the library business with Ingram Library Services to serve its market.

The terms of the deal have not been disclosed, but we do know that Coutts employees will be invited to join ProQuest. They'll report to Kevin Sayar, SVP and general manager, ProQuest eBooks. The deal is expected to close in the next few weeks.

The name Coutts hasn't crossed this blog much, but I was aware of MyiLibrary. This is a direct competitor to OverDrive. It functions on largely the same one user, one checkout terms as OverDrive, supports Adobe DE DRM, and supplies its own reading apps for Android and iPhone/iPad.

MyiLibrary has never gotten as much attention as OverDrive, much to my surprise. It's not nearly as big as overDrive, but with nearly 5,000 library partners it's also a lot bigger than 3M Cloud Library.

It's also distinctly different from ebrary and EBL (eBook Library), two library ebook platforms Proquest acquired in 2011 and 2013, respectively. Those are in the process of being merged into a single unit, ProQuest eBook Central platform, which is scheduled for launch later this year.

ProQuest CEO Kurt Sanford's blog post on the deal suggests that the MyiLibrary catalog will be merged into the eBook Central platform, which makes sense. Ebrary is focused on academic texts, while MyiLibrary has more of a consumer focus and offers a catalog of over 475,000 titles from fiction and nonfiction publishers. The two catalogs compliment each other, and assuming there are no technical complications the combined catalog will be more attractive to libraries than when they were separate.

This deal may not have gotten as much attention as Rakuten buying OverDrive last month but it is arguably as important as that earlier story. When ProQuest launches its new platform later this year it's going to be a major competitor to OverDrive and address market segments which OverDrive (with its consumer focus) doesn't touch.

This will be a company to watch over the next few years. ProQuest is privately owned, though, so that could prove difficult. Unlike publicly traded Rakuten, Cambridge Information Group doesn't have to make an annual media spectacle in order to keep its stock price up, which is part of the reason why it has managed to build an OverDrive competitor without anyone noticing.

Library Journal

image by Sutherland Shire Libraries

About Nate Hoffelder (11578 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."

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