I know that OverDrive has some librarians at the end of their rope. The HarperCollins deal. The inability to download ebooks on public-access computers. The "Advantage" plan limitations. The DRM. If there were an "other side," the grass might be looking greener... but there hasn't been much of an "other side" to go to.*
Enter 3M's Cloud Library ebook lending service, launching at the ALA Annual Conference this summer. 3M's press release states that it will be "a comprehensive subscription for both digital content and in-library hardware, along with apps for borrowing and reading." Random House and IPG are named as publishers that are already on board, and the press release also specifies "PCs, Macs, iPads, Nooks, Androids and 3M eReaders" as compatible devices. (3M eReaders?!)
LibraryJournal adds that the service will "follow the one book/one user model, and use the EPUB format as well as Adobe digital rights management (DRM), as OverDrive's ebooks do." Content will be browsable and downloadable online, via 3M apps, or in the library via the 3M Discovery Terminal.
It's still too soon to tell if the proverbial grass will be greener with 3M's Cloud Library. Anyone planning to attend ALA in New Orleans, please scope it out and report back!
* Here's a hastily-compiled roundup of other vendors offering downloadable/ebook content for the library market. To extend/belabor the grass-is-always-greener metaphor, don't think "expansive fields of grass" — think "modest container gardens."
- Audible.com (audiobooks)
- DawsonEra (ebooks; academic titles)
- EBL Ebook Library (ebooks; academic titles)
- eBooks on EBSCOhost [formerly NetLibrary] (ebooks)
- ebrary (ebooks)
- Follett (ebooks; K-12 curriculum titles)
- MyiLibrary (ebooks; academic titles)
- Recorded Books (audiobooks)
- Safari (ebooks; technology titles)