Penguin Joins List of Publishers Withholding eBooks from Libraries

As of February 10, 2012, Penguin Group USA will no longer sell eBooks or eAudiobooks to libraries through OverDrive. This announcement came after a series of meetings the American Library Association held with several major publishers regarding library eBook lending. On Thursday, February 9, OverDrive customers, including KDL, received this message,

“… Penguin will no longer offer additional copies of eBooks and download audiobooks for library purchase. Additionally, Penguin eBooks loaned for reading on Kindle devices will need to be downloaded to a computer then transferred to the device over USB. For library patrons, this means Penguin eBooks will no longer be available for over-the-air delivery to Kindle devices or to Kindle apps.”

Penguin titles already purchased for KDL’s Digital Collection, including the bestseller The Help, will continue to be available. However, KDL will not be able to purchase any new Penguin titles in digital formats, and existing Penguin eBooks can now only be transferred to Kindle devices via a USB cable (and cannot be sent to Kindle apps at all.)

In 2011, KDL circulated over 113,000 eBooks, a 192% increase in digital content usage over 2010.  The explosion in demand of these materials drove KDL to partner with OverDrive last fall, creating a digital collection specifically for KDL cardholders. Our Collection Development staff work diligently to stock our digital shelves, but publishers are making it more difficult to provide all of the content people want to read or listen to.

With this decision, Penguin joins the list of publishers who will not sell eBooks to libraries, along with Macmillan Publishing, Simon & Schuster, Hachette Book Group, and Brilliance Audio. Additionally, HarperCollins Publishers will sell eBooks for libraries to circulate, but they limit the availability of their titles to only 26 circulations before a “replacement” copy must be purchased.

If you wish to write to or call each publisher to convey your opinion, here is their contact information:

Penguin Group
375 Hudson Street
New York, NY 10014
(212) 366-2000

Macmillan Publishing
75 Varick Street
New York, NY 10013
(212) 226-7521

Simon & Schuster
1230 Avenue of the Americas
New York, NY 10020
(212) 698-7000

Hachette Book Group
466 Lexington Avenue #131
New York, NY 10017
(212) 364-1100

Brilliance Audio
1704 Eaton Drive
Grand Haven, MI 49417
(616) 846-5256

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Written by Heidi


Heidi Nagel is KDL’s Communications Manager. She is an equal opportunity librarian — loving both cats and dogs with equal fervor.

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6 Responses to “Penguin Joins List of Publishers Withholding eBooks from Libraries”

  1. Wendy Says:

    Thank you for listing the publishers’ contact information. I know I’ll certainly be writing to let them know how unhappy I am with this decision.

  2. Katie Says:

    How frustrating for library patrons! What is the rationale behind these decisions?

  3. Lisa Shah Says:

    That is very interesting. They must perceive that libraries are taking away sales? I will definitely be writing as well. Amazon offers a service called Prime which has a library for Kindle as one of its benefits.

    I feel lucky to be a member and to have access to such a beautiful facility with such an amazing variety of resources. Thank you!

  4. Heidi Says:

    Thank you all for the support. Publishers are struggling to incorporate digital content in their existing business model. Please see this previous post, KDL’s eBooks Unmatched by Amazon for more information about Amazon’s Lending Library.

  5. Ceil Says:

    As a new owner of an iPad..and a Lover of the Library,
    I was happy when I could combine both..

    I really love that I can “read” and “return”..without
    accumulating books that I may not read again.

    I am Sorry that the Publisher’s don’t see my “value”..
    I hate to “give up” on the iPad and Overdrive..which I
    found easy to use..but I am happy to know that the KDL
    continues to “value” me. I am hoping that some Publisher’s
    will understand the need for some of us to access books,
    without spending a lot of money.

    Thanks..and keep up the good work..GR has the BEST Library

  6. Lindsay Says:

    This is disappointing news! Aren’t there some lessons in history for companies ignoring or refuting new technology? I hope they will change their policy soon, in the mean time I will be sending an e-mail to each company expressing my disappointment.

    Thank you for keeping us informed!