April 19, 2018

OverDrive Now Offers Libraries Unlimited Download Audiobook Plan

By LJ Staff

In a response to market demand, as well as the launch of the Recorded Books/NetLibrary partnership OverDrive has announced "Maximum Access," which allows libraries to lend unlimited quantities of a selection of audiobooks. The audibooks come from Blackstone Audiobooks, which has over 2,500 titles and is one of the largest publishers contributing to OverDrive Audio Books, which launched in November 2004. OverDrive President Steve Potash said nearly 400 Blackstone titles were live in the system.

Potash likened OverDrive’s plan to those in which libraries lease bestsellers, since libraries need not purchase access to the entire catalog, as with the Recorded Books plan, but can start with a minimum of 50 titles. Price is based on the size of the library and its circulation. For the smallest library, unlimited simultaneous access to 50 titles could cost $500 annually; for the largest library, access could cost $7500. Potash noted that, for lower-demand classics and nonfiction titles, many libraries would choose to buy a copy that can only be checked out once. The OverDrive program goes live this week; the Recorded Books/NetLibrary program went live at three libraries on Jan. 27.