Back in 1986, Overdrive worked in the digital content space with books on CD-ROM and other similar storage. By 2000 they were in the downloadable marketplace with Content Reserve. And in the era of the eBook, Overdrive is out with an app that allows you to “borrow” eBooks from the library. The books can be read on several devices including Android, Blackberry, Windows phone and the array of iDevices. In the dedicated eReader world, Overdrive works with the Barnes & Noble Nook, various Sony devices and the list of devices could go on but the big idea is that thanks to Overdrive (and others) your neighborhood library is no longer an analog place. Okay, so the library has almost always been digital because you can use computers there. But, now you can check out eBooks and that’s pretty cool.
Theoretically an eBook is different from a paper book or even a book on CD-ROM. Like email, it should be available to infinity and beyond. Alas, this is not the case. Libraries acquire licenses for specific books, which means that they have a limited number of each title. There may be three or seven copies of that New York Times Bestseller at your specific library. And just like the analog library, three or seven or more people with eReaders may already have lined up for those copies. But if you’re the one in line, take heart. Tis not so unpredictable as it was in the paper book era. Your library promptly retakes the borrowed eBooks into its digital stacks on the expiration date. No renewals or extensions, and no late fees either. It’s not working quite as swimmingly as it should – yet, but improvements are just around the corner.
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