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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

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Doug July 6, 2011 um 11:59 am

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.

Nate Hoffelder July 6, 2011 um 12:40 pm

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

Mike Cane July 6, 2011 um 3:05 pm

I don’t understand this post at all.

Void July 6, 2011 um 5:37 pm

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

Nate Hoffelder July 6, 2011 um 5:42 pm


Chris July 6, 2011 um 5:46 pm

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

Laura July 6, 2011 um 6:48 pm

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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