LexisNexis and Overdrive

Legal eBook lending is closer than you think. There was an announcement last week from the US arm of LexisNexis about their new partnership with Overdrive. Information Today has a good overview of what this means for the industry.

The LexisNexis Digital Library offers access to LexisNexis’ growing collection of more than 1,100 ebooks through OverDrive. That means, like my public library, a subscribing law library is able to acquire Lexis ebook titles, and “lend” each of them to a patron at a time. The library sets its own checkout and renewal terms. When a patron “returns” the title, then another patron can check it out. The patron doesn’t even have to bring the ebook back to the library, for as the press release points out, “each eBook title has a check out expiration deadline that automatically returns it to the library for use by others.” Is there a waiting list for a title? The library can buy multiple ebook copies to meet a greater demand.

A complete list of available titles is available for download. There are no Canadian titles on the list.

I am hopeful there will some discussion about this solution at the CALL Conference in Toronto next week. Stay tuned to the Conference on Twitter #CALL2012ACBD to monitor breaking news.

Related posts:
Kicking into (Over)drive
Managing eBooks in Smaller Law Libraries


  1. David Collier-Brown

    I’m of two minds about overdrive.

    On one hand, it gets lots of books out in electronic form, while reassuring publishers who happen to be selling into markets with lots of thieves and phocopier-jockys that they won’t see a black market in their particular books.

    On the other hand, it locks them into a particular brand of DRM, and exposes the publishers to the vendors efforts to create monopolies and polyopsonies, as described by Charles Stross in the widely-reported articles, “What Amazon’s ebook strategy means” and “More on DRM and ebooks” (http://www.antipope.org/charlie/blog-static/2012/04/understanding-amazons-strategy.html and http://www.antipope.org/charlie/blog-static/2012/04/more-on-drm-and-ebooks.html)

    The good thing is that LN in Canada haven’t followed that path, in part because the law-book market isn’t a collection of thieves (:-))
    Their e-books are released with their print publications, and are treated just like physical books.



  2. Shaunna Mireau

    Good points David.

    I am not so sure that it is a good thing LN provides an ebook copy with their titles though.

    From the library perspective, it is really difficult to manage those “free wth print” items and stay on the right side of the licences agreement for a purchase that is intended as a shared copy. Consequently, we rarely use the free eBook version. Just the same as we rarely used the “free CD-ROM” content.

    I prefer a univeral system with slight flaws than a homegrown scenario that requires hours of in house policy crafting, device and continuing electronic content management, and has barriers to delivery of information.

    I have to say, it is really convenient to manage ebooks with the Irwin Law eBrary model. I am hopeful the new LN Overdrive tool – if released in our market – will add easy to use to easy to manage for full borrowable copies of ebooks.

    My perspective only of course.

  3. I think it’s really encouraging that LexisNexis appears to be offering a lendable download approach to ebooks that’s in keeping with what’s already going on in public library land and aren’t confining their ebook content to their own proprietary online environment. I suspect that currently you have to be an ebook enthusiast (like me!) to put up with the way Overdrive works for public library users, and that’s going to be a minority of our lawyer clients, but it’s my hope that it will get progressively easier to borrow ebooks online and you have to start somewhere. Ultimately I want to see libraries offering a seamless, single signon experience for their users to borrow ebooks online. I’m really keen to see how downloadable ebook formats will work for legal researchers, who obviously have different usage needs than the recreational readers who have already embraced downloadable ebooks.