Has Penguin pulled out of Overdrive public library e-book lending?

Has Penguin pulled out of Overdrive public library e-book lending?

Thanks to nospin, one of my readers, for asking about this one!

There is apparently some concern that the publisher Penguin has pulled out of the Overdrive.com program.

That’s how most public libraries lend e-books.

Of the six largest US trade publishers, two others already do not license e-books to public libraries: Macmillan and Simon & Schuster.

A third, HarperCollins, limits the number of times a book can be loaned before the library has to purchase another license.

I believe I suggested before that the Kindle public library lending might lead to more publishers pulling out of the program, although I’m not seeing that comment right away.

I searched for news on it, and didn’t find it. I did find the original announcement when Penguin joined the program in 2008:


My next thing was to check my library. You can do that as well: go to


My library has a robust advanced search (that’s going to vary). I can search by publisher and format, for example, which was very helpful here.

When I searched the Downloadable Media Collection for Penguin Group (USA) with all formats, I got 37 results.  That included EPUB and PDF e-books and audiobooks.

When I switched it to Kindle Books, I got zero results.

I thought it might be a problem with the search engine, so I tried Random House: 146 with all formats, 143 with Kindle.

I tried several of the listed variants for Penguin (not imprints, but different versions of Penguin USA…I assume that’s inputted manually), and still nothing.

This could suggest that Penguin has somehow blocked the Kindle part…Amazon and Penguin have had tough negotiations before. It could also still be that Penguin uses a different imprint for their Kindle format books…that seems odd, though. It’s also possible that there are pre-existing agreements that are keeping older books available through my library even if they’ve pulled out.

The overall number of fiction e-books from my public library doesn’t look like it’s dropped significantly.

At this point, I’d call this a rumor, but I’ll keep my eye on it.

Let’s gather some data:

Feel free to let me know if you know your library’s Penguin e-book collection has or has not changed…you may be aware of one you previously checked out that is unavailable, for example.

Thanks again to nospin! Hopefully, this isn’t a pull-out, although that wouldn’t surprise me.

Update: this is now confirmed, although it’s supposedly a negotiation rather than a flat-out refusal for now and forever.

Huffington Post story

Penguin does still appear on Overdrive’s list of publisher partners:



Overdrive statement

says that they were  “…instructed to suspend availability of new Penguin eBook titles from our library catalog and disable “Get for Kindle”  functionality for all Penguin eBooks.” They also say that older penguin books are still available through the system (presumably not for the Kindle), which explains why some poll respondents are seeing them.

This post by Bufo Calvin originally appeared in the I Love My Kindle blog.

26 Responses to “Has Penguin pulled out of Overdrive public library e-book lending?”

  1. Kellie80 Says:

    All of the Penguin versions have vanished from my public library. The odd thing is that I have titles on my Kindle now that suddenly are only available in ePub – and all titles on hold have changed from Kindle to ePub.

    There is an active thread on this on Amazon’s Kindle Forum as well as “Let’s Talk Kindle” boards. Just hope we get a resolution or more information soon.

  2. Zebras Says:

    Bufo I searched under all the Penguin choices on the overdrive for my library, and not one now shows available as a Kindle book. However, I actually have a book checked out Knights of the Black and White by Jack Whyte that was kindle eligible about 4 or 5 days ago.

  3. American Child Says:

    My local public library in small town Ohio has 13 children’s books by Penguin Books Ltd and War and Piece uner the Peguin Adult heading. Zero books from any of the other Penguin options available in advanced search. The above are available in Kindle and PDF.

  4. Brian Hartman Says:

    Hi Bufo,

    Two books I had saved to my wishlist are no longer availabe in Kindle format, only ePub: If You Ask Me by Betty White and Paul Allen’s Idea Man. I only put Kindle books in my Holds or Wishlist, I am very certain of that, so this is definitely a change.


  5. Kay C Says:

    I checked my digital public library (Overdrive – Asheville NC), and sure enough – some books I had put on my wish list (several books in a series) are now not available for Kindle. This is fairly recent, as I had checked out the first of the series just several weeks ago. And yep, they are published by Penguin. Frustrating! But thanks for the information and heads up!

  6. Mary Says:

    Good catch, Bufo! I would never have noticed this on my own because just looking at my wish list on Overdrive, the publisher is not listed, just the formats. I have a LOAD of books on my wish list going back to when I was checking them out on a Nook (which I still have but don’t use much). Anyway, I went down the wish list, clicking on every one which was only epub, and yes, they were ALL Penguin or one of its imprints. This just gives me one more reason to dislike Penguin and its total indifference to e-book readers, even though they are making lots of money off of us. So many of my favorite authors are published by Penguin, and often I check the dead tree book out of the library, even though I would much prefer to read them on my Kindle. Their prices are so high and are maintained that way longer than most other publishers. As a case in point, Ariana Franklin’s Mistress of the Art of Death, published in 2007, is $12.99. ????

  7. Agnes Says:

    I got 2 emails on Nov 17th that titles I had on hold were available for check out: The Ideal Man by: Julie Garwood, Kindle Book and Split Second: FBI Thriller Series, Book 15 by: Catherine Coulter, Kindle Book
    When I went to check them out the next day only Adobe EPUB eBook and Adobe PDF eBook were available NOT Kindle editions were shown.
    So, I guess Kindle editions of these 2 Penguin books are not available even though the emails said they were.

  8. Tanga Moody Says:

    I had several Kindle e books on hold with my library. All were published by Penguin.
    I received a notice Friday that one was available for check out but it was not in the Kindle format. At first I thought I had put the wrong format on hold.
    After reading your post I checked the two county libraries I use and low and behold the Kindle format is not available on any Penguin published books that I had placed holds on.
    I know I didn’t select the wrong format on all of them! As a matter of fact I just returned A Discovery of Witches Friday night and when I checked this evening, that book is no longer available in the Kindle format.


  9. legos&dinos Says:

    Did a search of all Penguin books on Overdrive and discovered 3 titles that I had checked out on my Kindle – one as recently as last month- now only showing in Adobe epub and Adobe PDF.

    This is very annoying! Penguin makes some very good classic literature reprints (in DTB form). However, I really don’t want to support a company that thinks so little of its customers.

    Thanks for giving us the heads-up.

  10. Alison Says:

    Hi, I noticed this on Friday last week I think. I had been reading the Rachel Caine Weather Warden series (all Penguin) on my Kindle, borrowed from the library. Imagine my surprise when there’s no Kindle format available any more. I also got a holds notice for a book, but the only formats available now are epub and pdf (Yup, Penguin.) I wonder what’s up.

  11. Ginny Meyers Says:

    I keep a tab of the available eBooks at the Greater Phoenix Digital Library so I know when new books have been added. Between 11/14 and 11/18, there was a REDUCTION of ~2500 Kindle eBooks available. Didn’t know why until reading your post, and I checked the Penguin imprints (some of them). NO Kindle eBooks available!! The number of ePubs increaded by a little over 700. I don’t know what authors are with Penguin to check for any of my favorites — can you name a few authors in your Blog, or is that not appropriate?

    Ginny M

    • bufocalvin Says:

      Thanks for writing, Ginny!

      Here’s a list I did a while back of Penguin imprints in the USA:

      Penguin imprints include:

      Alpha Books
      Amy Einhorn Books (Putnam)
      Dial Books
      Dutton Books
      Frederick Warne
      Gotham Books
      G.P. Putnam’s Sons
      Grosset & Dunlap
      HP Books
      Hudson Street Press
      Pamela Dorman
      The Penguin Press
      Prentice Hall Press
      Price Stern Sloan
      Viking Press

      Ace is a problem for science fiction fans…it’s an imprint that goes back decades.

      I’m hoping to hear back from Penguin, and then I’ll post again on it.

      Some Penguin authors:

      Edward Albee, Louisa May Alcott, Eric Alterman, David Allen, Dorothy Allison, Julia Alvarez, Aristotle, Karen Armstrong, Lance Armstrong, Jane Austen, and more…
      view all »

      Phyllis A. Balch, Melissa Bank, Nevada Barr, Antony Beevor, Saul Bellow, A. Scott Berg, Maeve Binchy, Judy Blume, T.C. Boyle, Lilian Jackson Braun, Jan Brett, Charlotte Brontë, and more…
      view all »

      Julia Cameron, Eric Carle, Lewis Carroll, Bruce Chatwin, Ron Chernow, Tracy Chevalier, Tom Clancy, Harlan Coben, J.M. Coetzee, Patricia Cornwell, Catherine Coulter, Clive Cussler, and more…
      view all »

      Roald Dahl, His Holiness the Dalai Lama, Robertson Davies, Don DeLillo, Daniel Dennett, Tomie DePaola, Charles Dickens, Eric Jerome Dickey, Fyodor Dostoyevsky, Maureen Dowd, Roddy Doyle, Sir Arthur Conan Doyle, and more…
      view all »

      Betty Edwards, John Edwards, Barry Eisler, George Eliot, Ralph Waldo Emerson, Euripides , Richard Paul Evans, and more…
      view all »

      Jasper Fforde, Helen Fielding, Ian Fleming, Ken Follett, Karen Joy Fowler, Dick Francis, Dorothea Benton Frank, Al Franken, Sigmund Freud, and more…
      view all »

      William Gaddis, Alex Garland, William Gibson, Andre Gide, Seth Godin, Nadine Gordimer, Sue Grafton, Graham Greene, W.E.B. Griffin, Martha Grimes, Brothers Grimm, and more…
      view all »

      Laurell K. Hamilton, Dashiell Hammett, Thich Nhat Hanh, Nathaniel Hawthorne, Robert A. Heinlein, Jack Higgins, S.E. Hinton, Alice Hoffman, Homer, Nick Hornby, Victor Hugo, Zora Neale Hurston, and more…
      view all »

      Henrik Ibsen, Michael Ignatieff, Washington Irving, and more…
      view all »

      Shirley Jackson, Brian Jacques, John Jakes, T.D. Jakes, Henry James, Jesse James, Diane Johnson, James Weldon Johnson, Spencer Johnson, Samuel Johnson, James Joyce, and more…
      view all »

      Franz Kafka, Jan Karon, Mary Karr, Ezra Jack Keats, John Keats, Garrison Keillor, Jack Kerouac, Ken Kesey, Sue Monk Kidd, Ross King, Stephen King, Thomas Kinkade, Jayne Ann Krentz, Mark Kurlansky, Hari Kunzru, and more…
      view all »

      Lewis Lapham, Anne Lamott, D.H. Lawrence, Chang-Rae Lee, Donna Leon, John Lescroart, David Lodge, Penelope Lively, Ursula K. Le Guin, David Lodge, Jack London, H.P. Lovecraft, JoAnna Lund , and more…
      view all »

      Niccolo Machiavelli, Leonard Maltin, Thomas Mann, Christopher Marlowe, Steve Martini, W. Somerset Maugham, Karl Marx, Anne McCaffrey, Mary McGarry Morris, Bernice McFadden, Robert McCloskey, Terry McMillan, Herman Melville, Arthur Miller, Thomas More, John Mortimer, Iris Murdoch, and more…
      view all »

      Vladimir Nabakov, John J. Nance, Gloria Naylor, Pablo Neruda, Gerard de Nerval, Friedrich Nietzsche, Wendy Northcutt, Sherwin B. Nuland, and more…
      view all »

      Edna O’Brien, Tim O’Brien, Brendan O’Carroll, Carol O’Connell, Nuala O’Faolain, Shannon Olson, Suze Orman, George Orwell, Ovid, Ruth Ozeki, and more…
      view all »

      Thomas Paine, Dorothy Parker, Robert B. Parker, Iain Pears, Arturo Perez-Reverte, Dave Pelzer, Anne Perry, Nathaniel Philbrick, Kevin Phillips, Steven Pinker, Plato, Edgar Allan Poe, Ezra Pound, Marcel Proust, Mario Puzo, Thomas Pynchon, and more…
      view all »

      Raymond Queneau, Francisco de Quevedo, and more…
      view all »

      Ayn Rand, Jeremy Rifkin, Jacob Riis, Arthur Rimbaud, J.D. Robb, J.M. Roberts, Nora Roberts, Richard Rodriguez, Ann B. Ross, Julia Ross, Jean-Jacques Rousseau, Rumi, Salman Rushdie, and more…
      view all »

      Lawrence Sanders, John Sandford, Jon Sciezsca & Lane Smith, Wallace Stegner, Mary Shelley, Sal Severe, George Bernard Shaw, William Shakespeare, Carol Shields, Upton Sinclair, Daniel Silva, Dava Sobel, Sophocles, Jonathan D. Spence, John Steinbeck, Robert Louis Stevenson, Bram Stoker, Sun-Tzu, Jonathan Swift, and more…
      view all »

      Tacitus, Amy Tan, William Thackeray, Henry David Thoreau, Thucydides, Pramoedya Ananta Toer, Leo Tolstoy, Jim Trelease, William Trevor, Lynne Truss, Mark Twain, Lao Tzu, and more…
      view all »

      Sigrid Undset, Zac Unger, Jane Urquhart, William Ury, and more…
      view all »

      John Varley, Geza Vermes, Jules Verne, Gore Vidal, Virgil, William T. Vollmann, Voltaire, Susan Vreeland, and more…
      view all »

      Minette Walters, Rosemary Wells, Eudora Welty, Cornel West, Edith Wharton, Walt Whitman, T.H. White, Oscar Wilde, Tad Williams, Tennessee Williams, Marianne Williamson, Garry Wills, P.G. Wodehouse, Stuart Woods, Jacqueline Woodson, Richard Wright, and more…
      view all »

      Xenophon, Cao Xueqin, and more…
      view all »

      W.B. Yeats, Jane Yolen, Mia Yun, and more…
      view all »

      Yevgeny Zamyatin, Eva Zeisel, Jack Zipes, Zitkala-sa, Emile Zola, Robert Zubrin, and more…
      view all »

      You see them here:


  12. ~B Says:

    Under Penguin USA my library has 1190 ePub’s available and none of those are available for Kindle. Under Penguin Group USA they have 2902 ePub, zero Kindle. Under Penguin US they have 85 ePub, zero Kindle. Under Penguin Group (USA) 113 ePub, zero Kindle. I know for a fact at least some of these were available for the Kindle at an earlier time.

  13. Kathy Says:

    I just checked my library wishlist (Tampa, FL), and several titles are no longer available in Kindle format – all are published by Penguin. I’m disappointed but not surprised. Thanks for posting about this.

  14. Laurie Gator Says:

    I just checked the Phoenix library and Penguin books are not available for Kindle users. They are still available in ePub, PDF and audio book editions…

  15. Monday Midday News: Penguin Pulls Out of Overdrive - Dear Author Says:

    […] will be sad and distressing news for readers.  Readers are reporting that there are no Penguin books available in their libraries digital catalogs for the Kindle.  Emails were sent to representatives […]

  16. hannah Says:

    Same thing with the two libraries I use–Hennepin County Libraries and the Free Library of Philadelphia. I don’t have any Kindle titles from Penguin on hold now, but I wanted to reserve one and was surprised that it was no longer available in Kindle format. This must be so frustrating for library staff.

  17. Alison Says:

    Ginny – a lot of popular SF authors are with Penguin imprints. Jim Butcher, Nalini Singh, Rachel Caine; you might also check for The Help, also a Penguin title.

  18. ~B Says:

    More on this situation…


    It looks like there will be no new Penguin titles for libraries period (no matter the format), at least for now.

  19. angela Says:

    I’ve been checking the internet for more news on this too. In the absence of any, I went to the US Penguin website. There, Penguin has at least two sections promoting Penguin e.books, but Kindle format is not listed. It says something like: Ebooks are available in ePub and PDF format. The omission of kindle is obvious.

  20. Laura Says:

    Another confirmation here. I use Mecklenburg county NC overdrive. I browse once a week for new titles added to the site, and a Dean Koontz book (Penguin) became available – but not for Kindle. Another was a new title by JD Robb, released last month, also a Penguin title. So that goes against what Penguin stated that new digital books would not be released in any format, as it was available in ePub and PDF.

  21. Publishers Weekly: “Penguin Restores ‘Older’ Titles to OverDrive” « I Love My Kindle Says:

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  22. the world's Scholar Social Network! Says:

    the world’s Scholar Social Network!…

    […]Has Penguin pulled out of Overdrive public library e-book lending? « I Love My Kindle[…]…

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