Penguin Grabs Stack of eBooks, Waddles Out of OverDrive Lending Service

Paul Lilly

Welcome to the world of digital media, a world where its inhabitants are constantly looking over the shoulder for fear of pickpockets. This fear is prevalent throughout the digital music industry, and apparently eBook publishers are just as skittish. In case we need to be reminded of this, just look at Penguin's recent departure from the OverDrive lending service.

The Digital Reader called the move a continuation of the "assault on readers." Sounds extreme, but is it really? TDR supports its verbiage by pointing out that Macmillan and S&S never allowed eBooks in the first place, followed by HarperCollins deciding to limit eBook lending to a set number of times before needing to buy a new copy, because in paper form, books wear out over time. 0_o

As far as Penguin is concerned, OverDrive stated in a blog post that it "was instructed to suspend availability of new Penguin eBook titles from our library catalog and disable 'Get for Kindle' functionality for all Penguin eBooks." The reason is because Penguin is "reviewing terms for library lending of their eBooks," OverDrive explains.

Penguin didn't deny this was the reason.

"Penguin has been a long-time supporter of libraries with both physical and digital editions of our books. We have always placed a high value on the role that libraries can play in connecting our authors with our readers. However, 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," Penguin told The Digital Shift . "Penguin’s aim is to always connect writers and readers, and with that goal in mind, we remain committed to working closely with our business partners and the library community to forge a distribution model that is secure and viable. In the meantime, we want to assure you that physical editions of our new titles will continue to be available in libraries everywhere."

What's odd about this is Penguin had previously agreed to participate in OverDrive's lending service, and no one seems to know what prompted the sudden 180.

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