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Exceptions to Commercial Availability

Sometimes requested titles are commercially available but not in a format that works for the requesting patron.

This happens regularly when a title is only available from the library through an app, or computer: individuals may lack either the skills or tools to access the book in its existing format.


1. The OverDrive app does not work properly on tablets or smartphones when audio navigation is enabled, and so OverDrive ebooks and audiobooks cannot be borrowed and read by (for example) a blind person using an iPhone. A senior with a DAISY player may need the audiobook in MP3 format burned to a CD.

2. A title may be available as a 15-CD audiobook but an individual with a DAISY player, who is unable to change from one CD to the next, may require the entire book on a single CD.


For any exception, the local public library is expected to have access to a copy of the commercial version or the print book (whether that be in the collection, through ILL, or by some other means.

Here's how exceptions work with NNELS:

  1. Patron or library places a request with NNELS.
  2. NNELS checks to see if the requested title is commercially available. If it is, NNELS informs the library that the title is commercially available and lists a few commercial sources.
  3. Library staff contact the patron to see whether one of the commercially-available options is in a format that works.
  4. If the commercially-available format does not work for the patron, but the library has access to an electronic version, the library may be able to convert the requested book to the format the patron needs. It is  possible to import a multi-CD audiobook and then burn an MP3 version to a single disc. It may also be possible to export books from certain licensed platforms (e.g. OverDrive) and burn them to CD.
  5. If converting the book to another format is not possible, please submit the request again using the request form including the patron's full name and an explanation of why the commercial source is not an option. Please note that cost is not a valid reason; the issue must be related to format or access.
  6. Under certain circumstances, NNELS may produce and add a commercially available title to the collection for an individual request, but that item will be hidden and may only be downloaded by the requestor who receives a direct link from NNELS. Although the book itself will be hidden, the NNELS record will be public and shall include a note identifying the hidden content as commercially available and only downloadable upon request and with a valid explanation. For more information, please write to


It is possible for library staff to burn a CD version of an audiobook from OverDrive to lend to the patron, but this may ONLY be done when the patron has no other access to the OverDrive title.

For an OverDrive book, or any other book from a licensed content source, please ensure the title (usually a burned CD) is returned to the library and then destroyed so it cannot be loaned again. Items from OverDrive may not be borrowed by more than the one reader for whom the item was downloaded.


If you have any questions about this pate or process, please contact NNELS Support.