February 17, 2018

NetLibrary, Recorded Books Offer Downloadable Audiobooks; OverDrive Set to Launch

By LJ Staff

Recorded Books and NetLibrary are teaming up to offer downloadable audiobooks to libraries – with unlimited access to each title rather than the one-book, one-borrower model. "You’re not taking advantage of all the things the digital world can offer if you’re saying ‘one book, one user,’" noted Brian Downing, publisher of Recorded Books. The NetLibrary/Recorded Books program, to launch in December, will include 500 titles. The announcement comes as rival OverDrive, which began – as did NetLibrary – with ebooks, is set to launch its own downloadable program in November, with 1000 titles from several audiobook publishers. The OverDrive model is one-book, one-user, but allows libraries to purchase titles individually rather than as a collection, though they must first invest in a Digital Library Reserve Platform.

Recorded Books was approached for content by NetLibrary, a division of OCLC and the leading provider of ebooks to libraries, under the ‘one book, one user’ model. Pricing for the audiobooks will be based on a library’s circulation, starting at $3,000. Several large library systems have signed up or indicated strong interest in both the Recorded Books and OverDrive programs. Unlike downloadable audiobooks via Audible, which some libraries began buying in 2002, libraries will not have to lend proprietary players to listeners.