Awareness has always been crucial to the success of a library. The materials and resources available could be the best in the community but if no one is aware of them, they won’t get used. To that end, OverDrive strives to provide the best marketing materials and training resources available to help ensure the success of the library’s digital collections.


One of the most successful tools we provide is the OverDrive Readbox samples. OverDrive samples allow users to discover and begin reading embedded eBook samples from your digital collection and provides a direct link to borrow the title. Libraries use OverDrive Readbox samples to help their communities learn about their digital collections, something Vancouver Public Library understands very well. VPL created a marketing campaign around Canadian Library Month last year that heavily focused on using OverDrive samples. What follows is their story of how Readboxes helped increase engagement and even library card sign-ups:


How did you use Readbox samples with your #GetBooked campaign in your marketing for Canadian Library Month?

Our #GetBooked campaign used transit advertising to drive awareness of VPL’s digital collections. During the month of October we ran ads on Skytrain station platforms, at bus shelters and on trains. These ads encouraged users to explore our eBook and eAudio collection with a link to the #GetBooked website. On the website they were offered a choice of five personas linked to genres, as well as a Staff Picks option. Personas included Super Sleuth, Escape Artist, Bad#ss, Don Juan(ita) and Soul Searcher. Clicking on a persona took them to a Readbox sample from the genre in question, with an invitation to explore the rest of the collection or sign up for a library card at the end of the sample. We thought transit advertising was perfect for a campaign like this because we could reach people waiting for a bus or for their stop on a train, likely with phone in hand, and capture their interest with the promise of a free read to help pass the time.


What was the reaction from your users?

Extremely positive. We received many comments about how much people liked the series of genre personas, and from patrons who hadn’t realized the extent of our digital collections before they visited the website. The campaign as a whole generated a lot of very positive attention on social media, which was a great tool for spreading awareness.


Did you see an increase in eBook usage?

We saw an increase in holds on the titles that were used as samples in Readbox. We managed this by switching up the titles each morning so that holds lists on individual books didn’t get out of hand. Interestingly, the other big increase we saw was in online library card signup that was driven by the link at the end of the Readbox sample. This jumped by 195% year-on-year!


How did you come up with the genres you used?

The personas came from our fabulous and creative Marketing & Communications team, who developed them to represent genres that we knew would have popular appeal. We then worked with Reader’s Advisory experts from our Information Services staff to create the lists of titles for each genre.


Are you planning to use our Readbox samples again in the future?

We’ve been discussing how we might revisit #GetBooked in a new way when National Library Month comes around this year, which would include using Readbox samples again. They provide an ideal opportunity to try out the eReading experience without barriers to access like a login or download process.


Anything else you would like to share about your program in general?

We were really pleased that Staff Picks proved to be by far the most popular of the collections. It speaks to the value patrons place on recommendations by reading experts at the library.


You can learn more about how to use OverDrive ReadBox samples with your library websites right here.