Thursday, March 20, 2008

OverDrive Breaks the iPod Barrier for Downloadable Audio

Norman Oder -- Library Journal, 3/19/2008

3000 titles will be available

No DRM means compatibility with iPods, iPhones
Libraries will remind patrons of copyright

For years, librarians and patrons have complained that the most popular digital audio player, the iPod, was incompatible with the Windows Media Audio (WMA) files, the format for library downloadable audio. OverDrive now says it will offer at least 3000 titles—about 15 percent of its catalog—in MP3 format without digital rights management (DRM), which means compatibility with nearly every MP3 player and mobile phone, including iPods. OverDrive MP3 Audiobooks will go on sale in May at and should be available to libraries by the end of June, to be followed with the release of OverDrive Media Console for the Mac.

OverDrive CEO Steve Potash said the policy change emerged from demand in the library market, OverDrive’s track record, and “some recent moves in the audiobook retail market,” including an announcement by Random House that it would make its audiobook titles available without DRM in the MP3 format. While Random titles are limited to retail sales, Potash said OverDrive MP3 Audiobooks would be provided by at least a dozen publishers. “Each publisher is reviewing their entire audiobook list to confirm each title/author has these rights so the exact title list is forthcoming. Participating publishers… include Blackstone Audio, Books in Motion, CSA Word, Audio Evolution, Audio Realms, plus others that we need to clear for PR purposes.” He said “thousands more” titles should be cleared by launch.

Read the rest of this article.


Rattling Books titles are available through Overdrive.