Monday, November 21, 2011

New Penguin Ebooks No Longer Available From OverDrive (UPDATED)

This post has been updated to include links and further thoughts.

I was offline most of the weekend, but came back to discover that people are talking about missing Penguin titles. It seems there have been a lot of reports from patrons that use OverDrive that Penguin titles that were on hold in the Kindle format have disappeared off their waiting lists. Other reports are people received emails saying their title was available for checkout, only to log in and find the hold either completely missing or switched to an EPUB format. Titles that people insist were available in Kindle format until Friday are now just gone.

Checking our own catalog this morning, I ran an Advanced Search for Penguin USA in Kindle format - zero hits. Checking all other Penguin listings gave me the same results, except there do seem to be a couple titles under Penguin Adult/ePenguin Imprint that still have Kindle formats available, but that is two titles. TWO. TITLES.

That definitely does not include The Help.

No official reports have come either from OverDrive or from Penguin. Besides Twitter talk and threads on various Kindle sites, the I Love My Kindle blog has a short post musing the same questions. Hopefully one of the camps will speak up and let their customers - and our patrons - know exactly why this has happened, and if it is permanent.


The Digital Shift just published a post indicating that Penguin is taking the stand that "due to new concerns about the security of our digital editions, we find it necessary to delay the availability of our new titles in the digital format while we resolve these concerns with our business partners."

From OverDrive Library Blog:

"Last week Penguin sent notice to OverDrive that it is reviewing terms for library lending of their eBooks. In the interim, OverDrive was instructed to suspend availability of new Penguin eBook titles from our library catalog and disable “Get for Kindle” functionality for all Penguin eBooks. We apologize for this abrupt change in terms from this supplier. We are actively working with Penguin on this issue and are hopeful Penguin will agree to restore access to their new titles and Kindle availability as soon as possible."

So, does this mean that we are going to see all ebook formats for Penguin new titles disappear? Or, are we just no longer going to be able to purchase new ebook titles from them? So far, what we have bought are still in our catalog, and it looks like it is going to stay that way, according to all reports. However, access to additional copies, and other new Penguin titles, is going to cease. This will make four big publishers that do not allow library lending of their new (or any) titles. Add to this the 26-loan cap for HarperCollins, libraries are going to find longer queues for digital holds, and upset patrons wondering why we do not purchase any more copies or have these titles. Publishers are putting the burden on us to explain their industry practices to people who wonder why we can't just go online and purchase the same ebooks they do. OverDrive knew last week that Penguin had made this decision, yet chose to not inform their customers about this until Monday, after changes happened.

Libraries should not be the last in line for the information that affects so many. Who is going to the table now?

More Links:

Publishers Weekly - Penguin USA drops library access
Early Word - Penguin exits OverDrive pending evaluation
Melville House - Penguin pulls ebooks from libraries in apparent slap at Amazon
Smart Bitches, Trashy Books - Oh For Gods Sake: Penguin Disallows Digital Library Lending


  1. It is rather frustrating that after PAYING for the digital items for library's collection, they can just pull the titles afterwards because they don't feel comfortable about something. Ridiculous.

  2. @Lari - It seems that only the Kindle version was pulled. Since we purchase titles and they come available in whatever format is provided, we lost some service but not all, as we still have EPUB and PDF available. However, I do agree with you that the rationale behind it is not all there and we will have to see what comes of it.