OverDrive Dumps WMA, Announces all Audiobooks Sold to Libraries Will be in MP3 Format

Posted on January 26, 2014

Overdrive, the company that supplies most U.S. libraries with ebooks and audiobooks for lending to patrons, announced that it will stop selling audiobooks to libraries in the WMA (Windows Media Audio) for and in future will distribute all audiobooks the more device-friendly MP3 format. The MP3s do not have DRM (Digital Rights Management), as the WMA formatted books do.

Patrons at libraries will still borrow audiobooks, but now new releases will be available right away in mp3 format so they can now be listened to on Apple products, such as the Mac, the iPod and iPad. The book is still a rental and will expire at the normal time period using the Overlook app. Librarians are really happy with the change. There are a few publishers still holding out, but OverDrive told librarians that it will work with them to get libraries' old WMA format books converted for free. In its blog, OverDrive said,

"At ALA Midwinter Meeting this weekend, OverDrive will be announcing to library partners that over the coming months, we will take steps to discontinue the sale of audiobooks in the WMA format. With the largest collection of audiobooks from leading publishers in MP3 format for schools and libraries, OverDrive will soon make this the only file format offered for OverDrive digital audiobooks.

"This is in response to user preferences, widespread compatibility of MP3 across all listening devices and the fact that the vast majority of our extensive audiobook collection is already in MP3 format. This includes the audiobook collections from Hachette, Penguin Group, Random House (Books on Tape and Listening Library), HarperCollins, AudioGo, Blackstone, Tantor Media and dozens of others. Our publisher relations team is working closely with the very few remaining publishers who require WMA to seek permission to sell their titles in MP3 for library and school lending."

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