To: OverDrive Library & School Partners in the U.S.
From: Steve Potash, OverDrive CEO
Re: Launch of Kindle® Compatibility and OverDrive WIN Initiatives
Date: September 21, 2011
Dear Library Partner,
I am very pleased to announce that, as promised, Amazon Kindle® compatibility with your library’s eBook collection is here. Kindle compatibility is part of the OverDrive WIN initiative, a series of platform enhancements for your library’s Virtual Branch website. These new features are updates to your OverDrive service at no additional cost.
Team OverDrive has been hard at work with technicians at Amazon to make Kindle compatibility a valuable extension of your eBook lending service. This update allows most existing OverDrive eBooks to be read on all Kindle devices or by using free Kindle apps on iPhone®, iPad®, Android™, and other mobile devices. At launch, there will be a small number of PDF titles that are not yet available for Kindle. OverDrive and Amazon are working to reduce this number to achieve greater coverage.
Kindle Launch Plan
OverDrive will be quickly updating all U.S. public and school library partner websites to support Kindle compatibility. Many of you reading this may already have Kindle Books available for lending. We will complete this update to all our U.S. public & school library partner websites within one week.
To reflect these changes, OverDrive will update sections of your library’s Virtual Branch website including the My Help wizard, Help pages, and FAQs with new information about Kindle compatibility. Your users browsing the site will see a message that Kindle is either “Now Available” or will be “Coming Soon.”
User Experience for Kindle Book Users
All browsing, searching, and checkout of eBook titles will remain the same at your library’s Virtual Branch website. When a user checks out a Kindle Book, a “Get for Kindle” link will be presented that opens a new window (or tab) at Amazon prompting the user to login to their Amazon account. Fulfillment will occur at Amazon’s website so your user will need an Amazon account to access the library eBook in the Kindle format. No purchase or credit card is required to create an Amazon Kindle account; users only need to provide an email address.
Once signed in, the user will select which Kindle device or free Kindle app they want to deliver the title to for reading. At launch, browse, check out, and fulfillment of Kindle Books from your library can be completed from web browsers on PC and Mac, iPad, and numerous other tablet devices.
Kindle users will enjoy Whispersync technology that synchronizes notes, highlights, and last page read on the Kindle device and free Kindle apps. As with other titles from your digital collection, the eBook will expire at the end of the lending period.
Your library, with the help of OverDrive, will continue to provide technical support for most aspects of eBook lending. Once a Kindle user is directed to Amazon’s website, Amazon will provide technical support for Kindle Book related issues.
Simplified Title Display and Expanded Format Availability
For eBook collection development, in Content Reserve your selectors will now only need to purchase “eBooks”, rather than choose specific eBook formats such as EPUB, PDF, or Kindle Book. Each eBook unit selected will provide your users or students access to all available eBook formats for that title. For example, if your library purchases one eBook unit of The Help, it will be available for borrowing with Kindle, for use on PC or Mac, Smartphones, Sony® Reader, Barnes & Noble® Nook™, etc.
On your library’s Virtual Branch website, all units of eBook titles that your library has purchased in PDF or EPUB will be aggregated into a single total number of copies now including support for Kindle. For example, if your library has three total copies of The Help in any eBook format, The Help will show three copies, available for use with Kindle and all devices that support EPUB or PDF. Your user will choose the format compatible with their eReader or device.
If your library has MARC records for EPUB, PDF, or Mobipocket eBooks in your OPAC, please update the records to simply reference the eBook format.
Streamlining the eBook Experience – Eliminating Mobipocket eBooks
As part of our ongoing initiative to streamline the user experience, OverDrive has ended support for the Mobipocket eBook format which means that this format is no longer available for selection in Content Reserve. For libraries with Mobipocket eBook collections, OverDrive will replace any copies with a corresponding number of units for use with Kindle or other supported reading devices. There will be a very small number of titles that we are unable to replace with other formats. For those libraries affected, we will contact you separately with a report of these titles and issue a full content credit for amounts paid for those titles.
If your library hosts a Customer Support form, references to Mobipocket eBooks should be removed and “Kindle Book” should be added once available at your library’s Virtual Branch website.
OverDrive WIN Enhancements Coming Later This Year
Following the launch of Kindle compatibility, OverDrive will continue adding platform enhancements to streamline the user experience. We are very excited about a new navigation feature called “OverDrive GPS™” (Guided Product Selector). OverDrive GPS will be a user-friendly addition to your library’s Virtual Branch website that simplifies the product selection process by prompting users to ask what they are looking for (e.g., Read eBooks or Listen to Audiobooks) and how they want to use it (e.g., Kindle or iPod®).
Once the user’s GPS is set, all browsing and search activities will display only titles that match their settings. For example, for users who want to “Read an eBook” on “Kindle,” their Virtual Branch experience will display only eBooks that can be read on a Kindle device or with a free Kindle app. It will work the same for those who set GPS to “Listen to an audiobook” on their “iPod.”
There will be no action required by your library to take advantage of the OverDrive GPS feature. It will be added to your library’s Virtual Branch website at no additional cost. To accomplish this and other user-friendly features, OverDrive will streamline portions of your website’s pages with popular shelf carousels for Recently Added, New Releases, Most Popular, and Recently Returned collections. We will similarly provide optimized browsing features for your music, video, and “Always Available” collections for those libraries that offer these materials from OverDrive.
Team OverDrive will continue to update you regularly regarding this next wave of updates as part of WIN. Look for information about these changes, as well as new content and access models, to help make your digital collection the first stop for online readers.
Preparing for the Increased Demand in eBooks – Next Steps for Your Library
OverDrive is committed to streamlining user and staff experiences and continually enhancing the value of our partnership. We expect Kindle compatibility with your library’s eBooks will be a very positive experience. To assist you in promoting Kindle compatibility to your communities and schools, please visit the Kindle Book Compatibility Marketing Kit with print-ready promotional materials, a web graphic, and a press release.
OverDrive CEO & President