For Adults

New e-Book and e-Audiobook Loan Limits

11/19/2019 | Announcement

Did you know there is a difference between the price a public library pays for a print book compared to the price a public library pays for an e-book? There is also a difference between the price the average person pays for an e-book and the price a public library pays.

For example:

Print Books: The print version of Where the Crawdads Sing costs the average person or the public library about $14.

E-Books: The e-book version of Where the Crawdads Sing costs the average person about $15, but costs the public library about $55!

Graph Library Material Format Costs

Did you know there is a difference between how a public library lends a print book compared to how a public library lends an e-book?

Print Books: When we buy a print book we can check it out to borrowers an unlimited number of times and keep it in the collection as long as we'd like.

E-Books: When we buy an e-book we are buying a license that allows us to check that e-book out to borrowers. Sometimes the agreement is to let us lend out the e-book for an agreed on time period, like one year or two years. Other times the license allows us to check that e-book out to borrowers an agreed number of times, like 26 check outs. For this type of license, when you renew the e-book that counts as another check out. And of course if you check it out and don't read it, that uses up a checkout also.

For many books, we buy these licenses multiple times as they expire and are renewed for you again.

E-books initially cost more AND if we want to keep them in the collection for more than a year or two, we have to renew the licenses for them, paying for them over and over again. As you can guess, this makes the e-book collection quite a bit more expensive than the print collection. Consequently, we cannot buy as many e-book copies and hold lines increase.

In order to help reduce the length of hold lines, we are introducing a few changes that will help borrowers share and take turns with the e-book collection. The new limits are intended to reduce waitlist times and help the Library share its limited e-books with more people in light of increased purchasing costs.

Beginning November 18, 2019:

Loan Period Option Screenshot
  • E-books and/or e-audiobooks check out limit: 20.
  • E-books and/or e-audiobooks hold limit: 10.
  • The default loan period will be set at 14 days. The option to change the default setting to 7 days or 21 days will still be available to you. To change the default setting sign in to or Libby (the Overdrive App). Go to My Account>Settings.

How You Can Help:

Return Early Option Screenshot

Manually return items you have finished or don't want anymore.

Usually e-books and e-audiobooks automatically return for you at the end of the lending period, but it IS possible to manually return them. If you have items checked out that you have finished or no longer want, it would be very helpful if you would manually return them by clicking on the “Return” button.

Cancel any holds you no longer want
Cancelling holds you don’t want will help your family, friends and neighbors get the e-book or e-audiobook they may be waiting for faster.

Remember to cancel extra holds
We know that many people are so excited for a new title that they place holds on several formats of the same title, including the book, large print, e-book AND e-audiobook, with plans to read the first format that becomes available. We understand! If you are one of these folks, please help others by canceling holds when the first one comes in.

Use the Lucky Day collection
It's your lucky day! No waiting is required — these popular titles are available now! All Lucky Day titles have a 7 day loan period and cannot be renewed. You may borrow only one Lucky Day title at a time. If you are lucky enough to get a copy, please remember to cancel your hold!

In settings, turn off automatic hold checkout
By default, your holds are automatically borrowed for you and appear on your loans shelf. This can be turned off in settings, and you will receive email notifications when holds are ready for you instead. This gives you more control of how many items you are borrowing at one time, and can elect to pass and read the item later.

Available Now Option Screenshot

Use the "Available now" search filter
Search for your next read by limiting the choices to only those e-books that are currently available by choosing the search limit “Available now”. No need to place a hold!

Sign the petition
For more than 100 years, IndyPL's mission has been to ensure that all people have access to books. Now the publishers are hindering this mission by changing the rules. The American Library Association and libraries like us across the country are asking readers to voice their opposition to Macmillan’s new policy by signing this online petition asking that access to e-books should not be delayed or denied. #eBooksforAll


​Why is e-book access important?​

E-book and e-audiobook access is important because these formats provide information that is just a convenience for some, but a required format type for others. Digitally available books ensures access for everyone. Readers with visual and other disabilities rely heavily on audiobooks and also e-books for adjustable text size. Many readers benefit from easy-to-hold e-readers. Some readers are homebound or do not have transportation to get to the library to check out physical books. E-books borrowed from libraries give readers opportunity to read a variety of authors, especially new ones, even if they don’t have the money to buy the book themselves. Finally, publishers need readers. Libraries help nurture readers who borrow and also buy books.

If I have more than 10 holds or 20 checkouts on November 18th, what happens to all of my holds and checkouts?

You will be able to keep the titles you have checked out, but you will not be able to check out anything new until you return enough items drop below the new 20 item limit. Similarly, The same applies for holds – your current holds will stay, but you will not be able to place new holds until you are below the new 10 hold limit.

What happens when I am at the maximum checkout limit, but one of my holds becomes available?

When you receive the hold notification email, you have an opportunity to return one of your other checkouts if you wish to check out the new title. If you have “automatic hold checkout” enabled, you will get the checkout, despite the limit. You will not be able to checkout any other titles until you are below the limit again. (NOTE: It is likely that OverDrive will be eliminating the “automatic hold checkout” feature in the future).

Publishers say that libraries cut into the profits of authors and publishers. Is this true?

Libraries have lent books for more than 100 years and have supported the world of readers, authors and publishers. Studies show that libraries increase exposure for many authors, increase literacy and the number of readers, and that library users are frequent book buyers too.