CLEVELAND— January 16, 2017 — Bucking the retail trend, sales and usage of digital books continues to increase in libraries and schools. Readers around the world borrowed a record 196 million eBooks and digital audiobooks in 2016, an increase of 21 percent over 2015. Audiobooks continued its meteoric rise in popularity, increasing 34 percent year over year, while eBooks grew a robust 16 percent.

OverDrive, the leading digital reading platform for libraries and schools, reported record sales and circulation across its global network. Two thousand channel partners were added in 2016, bringing the network to a total of 36,000 libraries and schools in 63 countries and increased demand for a broad catalog of eBooks and audiobooks in all subjects. OverDrive offers the industry’s largest catalog, representing 5,000 publishers and millions of titles in 101 languages.

The steady growth in popularity in public libraries and schools has been fueled by significant increases in a variety of subject areas as well as new digital initiatives. Children’s and Juvenile eBooks and audiobooks grew 19 percent in 2016, and non-English titles (39 percent) and Self-Published (102 percent) experienced similar gains. Popular content (both native and translated) in international languages are also seeing tremendous growth year-over-year, especially in Spanish, Chinese, Russian and French.

As a result of this continued growth, the value of libraries as a powerful marketing tool has hit an all-time high. Libraries provide highly coveted discovery opportunities for books and authors and new formats of reading that generate awareness, engagement and legions of loyal readers. This increased exposure and buzz continues to elevate sales rankings – as has the rise of digital Book Clubs. Community programs such as One Book, One PhiladelphiaTogether We Read (Australia and New Zealand) and Gracie Book Club in New York City now capitalize on the value and convenience of digital. The world’s first global digital Book Club, Big Library Read, provided HarperCollins, Pegasus Books and Sourcebooks valuable exposure at thousands of libraries worldwide in 2016, circulating hundreds of thousands of copies and significantly elevating Amazon sales ranks for each title to as high as 500.

For more information about the growth of eBooks in libraries and data about digital Book Club successes in 2016, OverDrive will present at Digital Book World in New York City: “The Digital Decline: What’s Really Happening? What’s Next?” on Tuesday, January 17 and during “Essential Insights into the Future of Audiobooks” on Wednesday, January 18.


About OverDrive

OverDrive is the leading digital reading platform for libraries and schools.  We are dedicated to “a world enlightened by reading” by delivering the industry’s largest catalog of eBooks, audiobooks and other digital media to a growing network of 36,000 libraries and schools in 63 countries worldwide.  Founded in 1986, OverDrive is based in Cleveland, Ohio USA and owned by Tokyo-based Rakuten.



David Burleigh

Director of Marketing