Sony, developer of the Sony Reader Digital Book, has partnered up with OverDrive, the leading global digital distributor of eBooks and audiobooks to libraries, to offer readers an easier way to borrow e-books from the library. How does it work exactly? Here are some more details from their joint press release:
Thousands of libraries in the OverDrive network (http://search.overdrive.com) offer eBooks compatible with the Sony Reader. Users simply browse or search their library website, check out their selected eBook with a valid library card, and download to a PC. Once downloaded, the eBook may then be transferred to the Sony Reader via free Adobe Digital Editions software.
...In addition to reaching new and existing patrons via the Sony and OverDrive network websites, OverDrive will train librarians on how to help patrons use the Sony Reader with their download service. OverDrive provides download services for more than 9,000 libraries, schools and retailers worldwide with support for PC, Mac®, and Sony® Reader, as well as the largest collection of iPod®-compatible audiobooks for libraries.
This collaboration looks like a win-win model and will definitely help to move forward the integration of the eBook format into libraries. I think it's an important step also in terms of keeping libraries updated and relevant in the digital age. Now we'll have to wait and see if this collaboration will be an exclusive one or we'll see future similar collaborations with Amazon and other providers of popular e-book reading devices.
If you want to check if your public library is a member of the OverDrive network, visit http://search.overdrive.com.
Raz @ Eco-Libris