Why Do I Have to Put Digital Books on Hold?

Why do I have to put digital books on hold? 

Why are wait times so long at my library? 

Let's learn more about OverDrive and our digital library collection. 

Here's what the process looks like behind the scenes. 

  • The publisher decides the lending terms for digital books and prices. 
  • Overdrive partners with publishers as the distributor of digital books to libraries. 
  • We purchase digital books from OverDrive.

Digital books have lending terms that vary by publisher. 

  • Some eBooks are like physical books where one copy can be checked out at a time. If that copy has been checked out, you must place a hold. We decide how many copies to buy to meet demand and stay within budget.
  • Some books are limited by time or checkout. Once a title reaches that limit, we decide if we will repurchase. For example, some titles can only be checked out 26 times. Then we must decide whether or not to purchase 26 more checkouts.
  • Some books are available as pay-per-use. Every time a pay-per-use title gets checked out, we pay a fee.
  • Some books are available for unlimited, simultaneous use. One book can be checked out to everyone at the same time. These titles usually come as part of a subscription and expire after a year. Once the time is up, we decide if we want to renew. 

When purchasing digital books, we consider several factors to maximize our budget:

  • Cost.
  • Lending terms.
  • How many copies are needed to meet demand and interest from our community.