Libraries and schools still fastest growing channels for eBook and audiobook discovery and engagement


CLEVELAND—January 8, 2015—Capitalizing on the latest advances in eBook technology and popular catalog availability, public libraries saw digital checkouts rise again to record levels in 2014.  According to OverDrive (, the leading eBook and audiobook platform for libraries and schools, circulation of eBooks, audiobooks and other digital media increased 33% in 2014 to 137 million checkouts, while web traffic and discoverability similarly increased, especially on mobile devices.

The record growth can be attributed to several key factors, including improvements in app design and ease of use, compatibility with more devices such as Chromebook™ and Kindle®  in addition to iOS and Android, and the growing catalog that now includes all of the largest publishers and bestselling titles.  In addition, OverDrive Read, the browser-based eBook reader that provides instant access to eBooks without an app, became the fastest growing format and contributed to the record year with growth of 124% to nearly 15 million checkouts.

Highlights of record-setting growth from the OverDrive global network in 2014:

  • Total digital titles borrowed from libraries & schools: 137 million (+33% over 2013)
    • eBook circulation: 105 million (+32%)
    • Digital Audiobook circulation: 32 million (+38%)
    • Streaming video circulation (+46%)
    • OverDrive Read circulation (+124%)
    • Mobile circulation (checkout on mobile device) (+43%)
  • 10 library systems (and 9 consortia) achieved at least 1 million checkouts in 2014
  • Visits to OverDrive-powered library & school websites: 401 million (+77%)
    • % of Visits on tablet (43%), desktop (36%, down from 48% in 2013), and smartphone (21%)
  • Tablets and smartphones now account for 52% of all checkouts and 64% of all traffic (+100%)

OverDrive’s industry-leading catalog also experienced significant growth in 2014, adding hundreds of thousands of new titles in all formats (eBook, audiobook, music, streaming video, periodicals) to its current level of 2.6 million from 5,000 publishers.  The most popular eBooks and audiobooks of 2014 from libraries (based on checkouts + holds):

Top eBooks from libraries

  1. Gone Girl, Gillian Flynn             Crown Publishing Group
  2. The Goldfinch, Donna Tartt             Little, Brown and Company
  3. The Husband’s Secret, Liane Moriarty             Penguin Group US
  4. Sycamore Row, John Grisham             Random House Publishing Group
  5. The Invention of Wings, Sue Monk Kidd Penguin Group US

Top digital audiobooks from libraries

  1. Gone Girl, Gillian Flynn Books on Tape
  2. The Goldfinch, Donna Tartt Blackstone Audio, Inc.
  3. A Game of Thrones, George R.R. Martin Books on Tape
  4. Sycamore Row, John Grisham Books on Tape
  5. Fifty Shades of Grey, EL James Books on Tape

Top digital titles at the library in other categories in 2014:

  • Adult nonfiction eBook:             Unbroken, Laura Hillenbrand (Random House Publishing Group)
  • Children/YA fiction eBook: The Fault in Our Stars, John Green (Penguin Group US)
  • Children/YA nonfiction eBook: Heaven is for Real for Kids, Todd Burpo (Thomas Nelson)
  • Adult nonfiction audiobook:       Unbroken, Laura Hillenbrand (Books on Tape)
  • Children/young adult fiction audiobook : Mockingjay, Suzanne Collins (Scholastic Audio)

This data plus demonstrations of OverDrive’s latest service features and innovations will be on display at the ALA Midwinter Meeting & Exhibits in Chicago, January 30-February 2.  This summer, librarians will be able to share best practices on increasing digital circulation at the 5th international user group conference for OverDrive network libraries, Digipalooza, August 5-7, 2015 in Cleveland.

Readers across the U.S. and Canada can use PCs, Macs, iPad®, iPhone®, Chromebook™, Android™, Kindle (U.S. only) and virtually any connected device to borrow eBooks, audiobooks, music and, soon, periodicals from their library or school.  Find the nearest digital library collection at


About OverDrive
OverDrive is the leading global digital distribution platform, supplying the industry’s largest catalog of eBooks, audiobooks, music and streaming video to 33,000 libraries, schools and retailers worldwide. We support all major computers and devices, including iPhone®, iPad®, Nook®, Android™ phones and tablets, Chromebook™, and Kindle® (U.S. only). OverDrive offers all digital media on a single platform, and offers APIs to streamline a seamless user experience. OverDrive Read, the breakthrough EPUB and HTML5 browser-based reading experience, now supports fixed layout and narrated eBooks.  Founded in 1986, OverDrive is based in Cleveland, Ohio USA.


David Burleigh

Director of Marketing & Communications

216-573-6886 ext. 218


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