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