By: Karen Estrovich, Regional Manager, North America Public Library

We hope you enjoyed the “How libraries can spend less and circ more” checklist we introduced in Part 2 of this series last week. Maybe you’ve even used some of those tips to help manage the growing popularity of your digital collection on a budget!

Without further ado, let’s get to the rest of the checklist:

    • Highlight one previously popular title that you have a lot of available copies of that are no longer in use (e.g. The Help, Gone Girl).
    • Cancel holds on Metered Access titles that have expired and you don’t plan to repurchase.
    • Sort your Current Waiting List by price and stock up on some of the low-cost options that have high circulations. From Anne Kennedy at The Ohio Digital Library:

“We decided to create a cart of low-cost titles with holds on them. One copy of titles which were $7.50 and under were added to a cart and purchased. Immediately, the overall wait time dropped.”

    • Check if titles with a long wait list are available as Simultaneous Use or Cost Per Circ (CPC) (e.g. Girl Wash Your Face, American Marriage). You can fill holds on those titles for roughly $2 each. Kim Storbeck from the Timberland Regional Library (WA) says:

When looking at buying another copy of a book or audiobook to fill holds, I have started to check if it is available on CPC. Can I clear the holds list for $20 instead of buying another copy for $60? I have also used CPC recently to assist in titles being promoted at library programs, book groups and the “Battle of the Books” competition at our local schools. It’s a short-term use of CPC for maximum impact.” 

    • Romance ebooks continue to be the most circulated and cost effective; some libraries are seeing 5-10 percent circ/spend efficiency. This means that when you buy romance, you get five times (or more) out of what you spend compared to other subjects like mystery and thriller, which average 1 percent circ/spend efficiency.

I hope these best practices from other libraries can help you meet the demands of your community. We’re your partner in utilizing all tools available to make your content dollars go further – this is a focus of ours for 2019. Ask us for help. And remember: Buying a copy to fill a hold for a Harlequin ebook vs. the latest Evanovich hardcover is the same; you’re still filling a hold and serving a happy reader, only cheaper.

About the author:
Karen Estrovich has been working with libraries and digital lending for 14 years. The Regional Manager of the North America Public Library division of OverDrive, she has partnered with libraries of all sizes across the country to expand their digital reach to their community.