Libraries fuel the rise of digital reading with 24/7 access to popular eBooks and audiobooks

Cleveland, Ohio – March 20, 2018 – While some thought digital was going to signal the decline of libraries, it has instead strengthened library systems and positioned them as a hub for innovation, education and a place of reading happiness beyond the bookshelves. After surpassing one million digital book checkouts in 2007 and 100 million in 2012, leading digital reading platform OverDrive today proudly announces another remarkable milestone – libraries around the world have reached one billion digital book checkouts.
“Libraries are at the forefront of a digitally evolving world, offering readers in their communities access to innovative tools to borrow titles from their digital collection within seconds,” said Steve Potash, founder and CEO of OverDrive. “Working with over 40,000 libraries and schools, OverDrive enables readers around the world to borrow popular titles in all subjects anytime and anywhere.”

The Evolution of Digital Reading in the Library
Popular eBook checkouts began as a project at the Cleveland Public Library in 2013. To put the growth of digital reading into perspective, it took 10 years to reach the first 100 million digital checkouts from 2003-2012. The next 100 million took place within a year, and the billion benchmark was surpassed soon thereafter.
The rapid takeoff of digital reading can be attributed to a variety of factors, including broad adoption of mobile apps and industry standard eBook and audiobook file formats.  In addition, OverDrive has developed a number of additional tools for libraries to augment this growth, including API integration with library websites and catalogs, digital book clubs, and the recently launched Libby app.  These tools make it easier than ever for readers to search their local library’s digital collection and use any device, including Kindle, to take eBooks and audiobooks on-the-go. What began as a project at the Cleveland Public Library has developed into a broad industry trend, reaching millions of readers of all ages through 40,000 libraries and schools in 70 countries.

 The Role Local Libraries Play in Digital Reading
An important driver of the billion digital book checkout milestone is library initiatives at the local level that focus on raising awareness and increasing engagement within their communities. A few examples of these initiatives include:

  • King County Library System, the highest circulating digital library in the U.S., celebrates digital integration and encourages readers to participate in OverDrive’s Digital Dash checkout competition. By implementing PR efforts that support their digital integration, the library achieved over 4 million digital checkouts in 2017.
  • San Antonio Public Library served as a pilot library for airport installs of digital library kiosks for travelers, offering 24-hour library cards for non-residents to check out books on-the-go. Participating in the launch of Instant Digital Library Card, they were one of the first to introduce new users to a digital collection through Libby.
  • Los Angeles Public Library actively curates their eBook and audiobook collection in more than 100 languages to meet the growing demand for popular digital content. The library grew their digital collection and engagement at a rapid pace with a 23% increase in digital checkouts in a single year.

Visit the OverDrive Blog to view a detailed infographic of the Billion Digital Checkouts and significant milestones that have helped accelerate innovation in libraries.
To find a library near you, visit or install the Libby app (iOS, Android, Windows).