Penguin Stops Selling e-Books to Libraries


Penguin, which only offered backlist e-book titles for library lending, is terminating its contract with OverDrive, the library digital vendor, and starting February 10 will cease to offer any of its e-books or audiobooks to libraries. Penguin is negotiating a “continuance” agreement that will allow libraries that have already purchased Penguin e-books to continue to loan them.

In addition, Penguin has also prohibited over-the-air downloads of Penguin e-books to Kindle devices or apps. Patrons of libraries that do have Penguin e-books will have to download them to a personal computer and use a USB cable to load them into their Kindle devices. While the scope of Penguin’s concerns over library lending are not clear, it does appear that the role of Amazon devices—OverDrive has partnered with Amazon to allow library patrons to borrow e-books via wireless download to their Kindle devices—in library lending is a factor in Penguin’s decision to withdraw its e-books from OverDrive.

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ALA, Authors Guild, 3M Weigh In on Penguin-OverDrive Dispute

Penguin’s decision to terminate its contract with OverDrive has further fractured the library ebook lending market, disturbed the American Library Association, and highlighted the difficulty in finding a single business model that all parties can be comfortable with.

And the executive director of The Authors Guild says that it is “awful” that public libraries are being put in the middle of a conflict that has embroiled the large commercial entities of Penguin, Amazon, and OverDrive.


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