Ebook After Christmas Rush

Overdrive apparently experienced an “after Christmas rush” that has caused their service to temporarily slow down. Here’s what they say about it:

“In the last few days, you and your users may have experienced error messages or slow page loads when visiting your library’s ‘Virtual Branch.’ This temporary slowdown was due to an unprecedented spike in traffic on our library websites following Christmas. While we expected a surge in usage after the holiday, your customers’ interest in eBook and audiobook downloads was greater than anyone anticipated. Many of your websites saw usage double overnight, up from what were already record levels prior to Dec. 25.”

Wow. Ultimately, that’s a good thing – once Overdrive gets the service fully functional again, it means more users. Not a bad problem at all.

But it made me think:

  • have YOU experienced an after Christmas rush? Anyone visit your library with their new ebook reader yet?
  • and was your staff able to help them?

pic by goXunoReviews

  • http://twitter.com/jlbooth Jen Booth

    We’ve had a lot of customers looking for help with OverDrive this week… and they are all out of luck. I can’t even get the site to load today. We’ve been pushing eReaders for 2 months now at Muncie Public Library. I’ve got front line staff trained on OverDrive downloading, we made our own download station, and I’ve got instructions made to help customers if needed. Just need Overdrive to get back to working… I finally figured out all the software and all the ins and outs of using it with the different readers and now I’m at a standstill! This is frustrating!!

  • Charity

    This. I have had so many phone calls, and a lady actually came in today with her Sony Reader and I was able to help her get set up with downloading Adobe Digital Editions and the Sony Reader software, and creating an Adobe account and authorizing her computer and device, but then things came to a standstill since we couldn’t access Overdrive.

    AND I only knew all the ins and outs of the Sony Reader because Sony gave our library two, so I had a chance to play. I could probably feel my way through the others in person, but am definitely not equipped to deal with troubleshooting for anything else over the phone.

  • http://twitter.com/jlbooth Jen Booth

    We bought one of each of the popular eReaders so I got to play with them all. I’m the expert in our system.. I’ve actually helped other libraries launch their eReader loaning programs. I’ve thought about doing a webinar talking about the various eReaders and OverDrive. You can hit me up if you’ve got any questions @jlbooth.

  • Charity

    Thanks Jen! I’d definitely attend a webinar on using Overdrive with the various eReaders. It’s the nitty gritty details that trip me up – like the fact that you have to have the Sony Reader Library software installed, or the Sony Reader won’t show up in Adobe Digital Editions. These are the things that you don’t necessarily know until it’s happened to you, unless someone fortunate enough to have the experience teaches you!

  • Nicolette

    Overdrive did this two years ago with audio downloads when everybody got MP3 players as holiday gifts.

  • Ben Haines

    The increase in questions over the last few days has made it clear: we really need to do what you did and buy a couple of the popular ereaders–at least a nook and a Sony Reader. Overdrive doesn’t exactly have a streamlined process, and it’s extra hard to walk people through it when you don’t have a chance to practice on your own. Plus, having a Reader for people to try out would be an excellent marketing tool. Which leads me to ask @Charity, how did you get donations from Sony?

  • Deborah

    My branch library has had a lot of patrons asking question about Overdrive. We’re getting about 10 patrons a day who are getting a library card for the first time just to use their device! The Barnes & Noble store that’s a few blocks from us was using Overdrive as a selling point and telling customers to ask us about free ebooks. So we knew it was going to be big even before the holiday. Hopefully patrons don’t get discouraged after their initial problems and will come back to the service later.

  • http://twitter.com/lorireed Lori Reed

    We’re scrambling to create training for staff now…as libraries we should have been better prepared for this.

  • http://twitter.com/jlbooth Jen Booth

    The sony reader overdrive titles can be used in digital editions..

    You must have the Sony Reader software installed to be able to transfer titles to the Sony device. After installing that software, please correct the .acsm file associations using the steps below.

    1. Go to Start > Control Panel > Default Programs > Associate a file type or protocol with a program.
    2. Under the ‘Extensions’ heading, select ‘.acsm’ and click the ‘Change program…’ button.
    3. Select Adobe Digital Editions from the ‘Recommended Programs’ list.
    4. Click OK.

  • http://www.kewaskum.lib.wi.us Librarycore

    I’ve been in for three days this week and have had people in each day with questions about Overdrive. Of course only today was I able to actually access Overdrive and try to figure out how to get a book from that to the Nook. We are purchasing a Nook next week (new budget!) and I’m hoping to train staff shortly thereafter. My concern is that Overdrive as a product is unable to give our patrons what they need both in terms of content and as a customer-friendly interface. Or to say it another way, Overdrive is crap. I’m looking forward to the inevitable better product now that ebooks are mainstream.

  • Charity
  • http://libraryunderworld.wordpress.com/ ananka

    We aren’t having a rush now, but we have been having ereader users come in for the last couple of months wanting help. We have designed a class and have a lot of hand outs, so even if the staff person on hand can’t help directly, they have something to give the patron. One of the biggest challenges is the different file types and devices. .pdf or EPUB, Mac or PC, iPod Touch, iPhone, iPad, Sony Reader, Nook? then there are the audio files; mp3 or wmv, Mac or PC, ipod, iPhone, generic MP3 players… We end up with lots of handout possibilities.

    We have gone to a lot of work to make sure we were ready for this wave of digital book needs. Our main branch has bought all types of devices and tested them out–even the Kindle, which as you know, doesn’t work with library materials.

    I am happy to say that I am able to download eBooks directly onto my iPod Touch (only EPUB’s, though–.pdf’s still have to go through the computer.

  • Braehenry

    The hardest part for most people is setting up and activating the Adobe Digital Editions on their computer and to then to activate their readers. If they follow all the steps in sequence it is not rocket science. Overdrive actually has a very easy to use interface. Unfortunately, Sony has that extra piece of software people have to mess around with. I’ll be helping someone with a Sony this coming week. So have been collecting notes on Sony problems and was glad to pick up yet another Sony clue here. Interesting illustration (Kindle) for this blog article!

  • Phil

    I created and taught staff and patron training for overdrive in Nov and Dec in preparation for the holiday rush on ereaders. When I got into work on monday I realized our overdrive site was not loading properly and emailed our overdrive rep and consortium contact. The first response from overdrive was borderline ridiculous. The rep said “We have been experiencing website issues, and our IT Department has been working diligently to correct the issue. As a temporary measure, the website should display after attempting to refresh it. Once the site displays, users should be able to checkout and download content without any problems” The page wouldn’t load no matter how many times we or our patrons hit refresh. Finally on thursday after sending many more emails I received this response “On the past couple of days our IT department was able to add additional bandwidth capacity and allocate additional network resources which helped resolve the website issues you have been experiencing”. I was dumbfounded that overdrive was unprepared for the onslaught of the holidays biggest gift. It’s bad enough that they are practically a monopoly but can’t they at least make sure they have enough bandwidth to handle their accounts. It’s frustrating that we have been working so hard to promote and prepare for the new digital library and the service we are stuck with makes it look bad to our patrons.