“…OverDrive is not the big bad wolf.
But the crunch for OverDrive comes around questions of privacy and data ownership.
It’s unlikely the company is just going to calmly set aside its competitive advantages, including driving business to its own interface. Upon such traffic relies the tremendous load of data that OverDrive is planning to start leveraging in a significant way, which Potash said will help public libraries better understand not only how their patrons act but also better depict how libraries affect the publishing business.
Still, the big fundamental question will be a now familiar one: Who owns the data? Libraries think they do but will that matter in an increasingly competitive landscape where data is very valuable? OverDrive has said numerous times that it does not gather personally identifiable data from users, but, ultimately, what contract terms will govern use of this data, particularly by third parties to which libraries may want to grant access?
Similarly, only a minority of librarians seem to care deeply that the Kindle loans are in the end an Amazon transaction, but they should, as Tom Galante, director and CEO of New York’s Queens Library, pointed out during the Seattle meeting. Data from library transactions is informing Amazon’s sales strategy, and that’s questionable at best.
But Potash had the moxie to get a deal done with Amazon and to accumulate all this data; give the man his due. If librarians don’t like it, it’s up to them to act.”
OverDrive & Big (Private) Data - Library Journal editorial by Michael Kelley
I do not disagree with Kelley’s points - OverDrive has worked hard on accommodating demands from librarians (and thus from patrons) while still being a competitive vendor. Now they are one of many, but still have the Kindle ebooks tipping in their favor - while the Amazon collaboration leaves a bad taste in many mouths.
Patrons want what they want - they don’t want government in their (reading) business, but they want the digital services that are controlled by one big entity. For most, they already handed over their reading habits as soon as they connected their Kindle to their Amazon account.
Where is the line for librarians supporting readers’ privacy, but readers demand services that gives their data to vendors? What side should we stand on?