Digital libraries are once again setting a record checkout pace
2016 is off to a torrent start for digital library lending as checkout numbers are up for Q1 (Jan. 1, 2016 – March 31, 2016) based on the activities of 50 top circulating libraries. eBook, audiobook and digital magazine checkouts through OverDrive are on track to grow 30-40 percent for 2016 over the record levels achieved for 2015.
Analyzing the collections and actions of top performing libraries reveals a sharp focus on providing content for every member of their communities. First, these libraries are adding more children’s and YA content to their collections than ever before with checkouts of this content up 30 percent (Q1 2016 vs. Q1 2015). This can be attributed to the massive popularity of enhanced eBooks including Read-Alongs, comics and graphic novels and HTML5 and EPUB3 fixed-layout picture books. Discoverability of children’s and YA content has never been easier as well as libraries are providing Kid’s & Teen’s eReading Rooms to create an age-appropriate online reading destination that young readers and parents and teachers are bookmarking and visiting frequently.
Offering access to non-English, self-published and indie author materials has been a keen focus as well for libraries. Spanish, Chinese, Russian, French, and other non-English readers are discovering the growing eBook and audiobook catalogs now available from OverDrive in their communities. These community language titles are also more discoverable as top circulating libraries are taking advantage of OverDrive’s free multilingual UI to provide a search experience to these readers in their native languages. With more indie authors reaching the New York Times bestseller list, independent author titles are growing at libraries at 20 percent rate and self-published eBooks are even more quickly with 40 percent more titles being borrowed. (Q1 2016 vs. Q1 2015).
Lastly, high performing libraries are offering multiple access models to their readers which has led to greater engagement. Offering not just eBooks but also audiobooks, streaming video and digital magazines and newspapers all on their OverDrive platform gives users multiple ways to stay connected with their library 24/7. There has also been a rise in digital Book Clubs and libraries are using their OverDrive platform to host and promote “eBook Reading clubs”.
Looking at these top performing libraries we’ve found a direct link between providing content for all members of the community and an increase in circulation. Making sure that the content is discoverable and that users have a voice in the collection is key as 100 percent of the top 30 libraries offer at least one of OverDrive’s eReading Rooms, multilingual UI options or our Recommend to Library feature. By engaging readers of all ages and backgrounds you can successfully make your digital collection a pillar of the community just like your physical library is.