Libraries and Digital Media: State of the Industry 


The morning of #DigiP15 began with a wonderful breakfast sponsored by Tantor Media and then some welcoming remarks from OverDrive CEO Steve Potash. It wouldn’t be Digipalooza without a surprise performance and the Cleveland Cavs Scream Team didn’t disappoint, putting on an tumbling performance throughout the conference hall. Steve used his remarks to put into perspective where Digipalooza and OverDrive were and where we’ve grown to since the first Digipalooza in 2006. In that year only 12% of the New York Times bestseller list was available through OverDrive. In 2015 that number is 100%.

After Steve spoke the President of the American Library Association, Sari Feldman took the stage to share her perspective on the state of the digital media industry. She discussed the beginning of the internet with libraries and stressed the importance of taking into account what patrons are coming to the library for because access to digital media has changed this. Today, libraries remain the critical place for curiosity, learning and knowledge. It’s essential that libraries continue with a forward thinking thought process to keep up with technology.

Meredith Schwartz of Library Journal then took the stage to give a sneak preview of their user survey that will be coming out in the fall. We don’t want to spoil the results but she stressed the challenges that different sized library systems face and how libraries are working to make eBook reading possible for all users. Meredith also discussed the many “homegrown” solutions libraries are using to remove the digital divide and how they’re using eBooks as a powerful outreach tool. By incorporating eBooks into outreach campaigns and putting eBooks into places like airports and train stations libraries are making sure the community has the ability to access these titles anytime and anywhere.

Andrew Richard Albanese was up next on behalf of Publishers Weekly to discuss the eBook and library relationship from a publishers point of view. He stressed that while the relationship is strong there are still some reservations that publishers feel about this new landscape. His key observations were that we are in an era of experimentation and digital reading is here to stay. Librarians are facing competition for the attention of the readers and digital reading can help capture that attention. He also mentioned that the product is no longer books. The product is reading.

One of OverDrive’s “resident geeks” and Product Owners, Quinton Lawman closed out the session by showing how users can stay connected to the library by using the technology of today. Digital and physical libraries coexist beautifully and the physical library itself is the perfect place to provide access to technology for your community.

The Ultimate Mission: Reaching every corner of your community


Scarlett Fisher-Herreman opened up second session about reaching new users by discussing how to create an entire community of digital enthusiasts. Topeka uses various methods including shor TV ads featuring people outside their normal demographics as well as using social media and bi-monthly newsletters that go out to every household in Shawnee County whether they have a library card or not. She also stressed the importance of cross-promoting eBooks and print books. When you curate a print collection, create the same collection for digital. Creatively align the two collections.

Adri Edwards-Johnson of the Pioneer Library System in Oklahoma spoke next and focused on how they use analytics and market segmentation to target specific portions of their community. They started with virtual library cards in 2009 and started getting businessmen who wanted to use the resources, but didn’t want to take the time to come into the library. In 2010 they started using civic technologies and book boxes. In 2012-13, they worked with OrangeBoy to begin the process of creating a 24/7 library kiosk. The now incorporate OverDrive Media Station so that while they wait for their print book to “vend” they could also navigate the digital collection. They also do 1-to-1 sessions where they focus on teaching how to use the service, not doing it for patrons.

David Cooksey from San Antonio Public Library took the stage next to focus on the importance of having a digital presence that corresponds to the physical presence to help marketing efforts. When you walk into their new branches you see an OverDrive Media Station. They also provide Digital Library Walls that displays books on a shelf with QR codes that can be scanned. These are great to use in Convention and rec centers, senior centers, children’s museum, etc.

Adam Sockel of OverDrive presented last on how OverDrive is providing marketing tools for library partners and the importance of content marketing to reach new users. Some examples include using Pinterest boards and eBook of the day posts. You can also use OverDrive Readbox samples to enhance the experience of your library websites, newsletters and blogs. Another great tool to take advantage of is Facebook ads which enable you to target specific sections of your community who have an interest in reading but aren’t currently aware of your library’s digital offering.