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.
We will soon be communicating the discontinuance of WMA sales, and then at a future date, we will announce when MP3 files will be the only supported format through OverDrive platforms. For libraries and schools that currently have WMA audiobook files in their collection, we will be working with the publishers of those titles to gain permissions to update your inventory to MP3. In the event that some titles are unavailable, an alternate solution will be offered to make up for the lost titles. Be on the lookout for announcements on our blog and from your Collection Development Specialist for a timeline of this process.
Sunsetting WMA formats will enable access to all audiobooks on any device through OverDrive's highest-rated, most used app for eBook and audiobook lending across all app stores. This will allow you to reach more users through your OverDrive audiobook collection, and offer patrons or students more titles to choose from on their preferred device. Visit us in booth #1723 at ALA Midwinter Meeting for more information, and to see a variety of other enhanced features coming soon from OverDrive.
UPDATE: MP3 audiobooks are still being borrowed, and users are prompted to delete when the lending period is over. Titles still expire in the OverDrive app at the end of the lending period.**