By: Adam Sockel, OverDrive Social Media Specialist.

It may be hard to believe, given that many readers around the world have just discovered the sheer awesomeness of borrowing eBooks in the last half decade, but here at OverDrive we’re celebrating our 30th year of working exclusively with digital content. We’ve come a long way since 1986, when our CEO Steve Potash founded the company by developing interactive diskettes and CD-ROM products and converting law documents into a digital format.

slide1Click here to view the full timeline of OverDrive’s history

Early on, we worked with company’s like WordPerfect, Microsoft and Egghead, to simplify filing of complicated legal documents, create early versions of eBook-like content on floppy diskettes and document assembly programs. In 1995, Steve co-founded the Content Compatible Advisory Committee and soon after signed the first technology development agreement with Simon & Schuster, laying the groundwork for the wide availability of digital content we all have come to know and love.

The library eBook world took shape throughout the late 90s and early 2000’s with developments including OverDrive helping to create the Open eBook Authoring Group (now known as IDPF) and the creation of OverDrive Marketplace (then Content Reserve). In 2001, Cleveland Public Library became the first library partner to offer digital reading options through OverDrive and the rest, as they say, is history. No really, we have the timeline to prove it!

Since then, digital library lending has continued to grow exponentially. In 2010, we saw 15 million digital books borrowed around the world from 12,000 global library partners. In 2016, the yearly number of eBooks and audiobooks borrowed is projected to hit 200 million with users from 35,000 library and schools in 63 different countries accessing OverDrive. In fact, an average of 12 digital titles are borrowed from OverDrive-powered websites per second, every single day!


At 30 years old we may have slightly more salt and pepper in our hair but we’re still dedicated to continuing to lead the way on technology enhancements for digital reading. It’s our goal to make sure the world around us is one enlightened by reading. We want to ensure that, no matter where you are or what time it is, you’re never more than a click away from access to digital content from the library. We can’t wait for the next three decades of innovations and are thankful you’ve joined us for the ride. Now let’s go eat some cake!