Booksellers and librarians attending BookExpo America in New York City this week will no doubt be stopping by the OverDrive booth to take a peek at its new Media Station kiosk. The device is essentially a touchscreen, mounted on a wall or standalone base, on which consumers can preview e-books and MP3 audiobooks and then buy or borrow them on the spot.
As OverDrive’s press release describes it, the Media Station is intended to provide an in-store—or in-library—way for people to browse e-book titles in the same location where they browse print books. OverDrive has one million titles available, mostly trade, from hundreds of publishers. Consumers can view or hear the first chapter of any title.
For more than a decade, OverDrive has offered a solution for online direct sales of e-books and digital content, but about a year ago, shortly after buying the Booki.sh cloud e-book platform from Australia’s Inventive Labs, it announced plans to develop the Media Station kiosk.
At that time, the Media Station was touted as a device intended for libraries. It was piloted at a public library near OverDrive’s Cleveland, OH, headquarters. However, it may have more potential for bookstores that already have e-commerce in place, as the kiosk can be integrated with the store’s web solution.