Reference librarians everywhere breathed a sigh of relief yesterday. OverDrive announced a relationship with Amazon to allowing download of library ebooks to Kindle devices. OverDrive is an ebook service that is popular in public libraries around the world. They have provided ebooks primarily in PDF and ePub file format with Abode digital rights management (DRM). (They also offer MP3 audiobooks.) Kindle books use Amazon’s own AZW file format and a different DRM. So downloading to a Kindle was never possible with OverDrive collections. Public service folks in libraries have probably heard a million times, “why can’t I download your ebooks to my Kindle?” Now they won’t have to answer that question anymore. It will probably take a while for the new format to show up at OverDrive. Details of the roll-out are yet to come.
Many academic libraries, however, use different ebook services than OverDrive. We’ll have to wait and see if services like ebrary, Netlibrary (soon to be called something more Ebsco-ish), EBL, or some of the publisher-specific platforms will begin to offer downloading to Kindle. I’m not holding my breath.