Philadelphia Library E-Books Are Really Popular. Naturally, You’ll Have Less Access to Them.

New policies are announced.

If you’re looking forward getting a new e-reader for Christmas, you may not want to look to the Free Library for help filling it up with books: The e-book service has become so popular that access is being restricted.

Here’s the skinny, according to a blog post this afternoon:

We are delighted that OverDrive ebook circulation continues to grow — a 33% increase in use over this same time a year ago– and we anticipate continued growth. This great increase comes at a time when the Free Library’s materials budget is flat and some popular ebook titles have long waits.  To ensure everyone has more access we will be changing two aspects of our Overdrive ebook policy shortly:

  • The loan period will now be 14 days for all OverDrive formats.  If there are no holds on your item, you can renew it (or put a hold on it); and you can still return items before they are due.
  • The number of OverDrive items that can be checked out at the same time will be six (6).

We hope this makes it possible for more customers to have access to ebooks.

I’m working from memory here (I can’t find the old terms of service online) but those numbers are down from 21 days and 10 checkouts, respectively, if I remember correctly. I don’t mind the library reducing the number of checkouts, but I do mind the reduction in length of a checkout. There are plenty of books I can finish in three weeks that I can’t finish in two.  But maybe I’m the exception and everybody else has “time to read.” If so, maybe this will give more people a crack at materials. It might turn a few away, however, too.


  • tymac56

    14 days is disappointing. From my experience if you dont finish you have to get back in line. There should be a way for you to automatically renew the book before someone else comes and scoops it up. It ruins the reading experience

    • Lori Morse

      You can renew–IF there are no holds on the title (which, for popular titles, there will be holds)