A year ago, OverDrive was preoccupied with addressing the iPod market-share for audio books, following Amazon's lead by offering them as MP3's in addition to the Windows WMA format. Since then, OCLC has sold NetLibrary to EBSCO, where it seems to be dying on the vine, (regrettably, because NetLibrary has an excellent collection), whereas OverDrive has been exceptionally aggressive in adapting to new digital media trends, partnering with Adobe to offer e-Pub and PDF e-books, and adding the entire public domain Project Gutenberg collection.
Last week patrons began to e-mail, call, and walk in to get help with the e-readers that they'd gotten for Christmas. My impression was that they mostly had Barnes & Noble Nook e-readers, though I was told someone had an Amazon Kindle. No one had a Sony Reader. Our information was that OverDrive's e-books would work on Nooks and Sony Readers, but not Amazon Kindles. Then we heard that OverDrive's Gutenberg e-books would work on the Kindle.
I found an interesting article, Ten Predictions For The E-Reader/E-Book Market In 2010, that makes the point,
Most consumers don’t read enough to justify buying a single-function reading device, and according to Forrester’s data, more consumers already read e-books on mobile phones and PCs than on e-readers.From what I have observed in the library, people who come in to use the Wi-Fi have a laptop and a cell phone. People who come in to use our public access PC's usually have a cell phone. Our crowd does not have expensive devices like iPhones or Blackberries.
So there are all these portable devices: iPods, iPads, iPhones, Blackberries and other smartphones, MP3 players, netbooks, e-readers. And they all want to be people's primary devices, offering "apps" for things they weren't initially designed for.
Look at OverDrive's current FAQ for an idea of how complicated it's become for librarians when people ask for help with digital media. Libraries are not, and will never be "cutting edge". They cannot afford to be. Capital proposes, the consumer disposes, and libraries must wait and see.