OverDrive Reveals Top Downloaded Ebooks and Audiobooks from the Public Library and Data Showing Increased Demand for Digital Content During Global Pandemic

The worldwide leader for public library ebooks and audiobooks releases data measuring the increase in digital reading and top downloaded titles since the COVID-19 pandemic was declared


CLEVELAND – May 14, 2020 — When COVID-19 was declared a global pandemic and stay-at-home orders were put in place across the U.S. in mid-March, thousands of public libraries were forced to close their doors.

“Almost overnight, millions of people were ordered to stay home, and needed to adapt to living life remotely,” said Shannon Lichty, Vice President of Partner Services at OverDrive. “They were looking for ways to stay informed and entertained as well as educate their children, which led to an impressive increase in demand for ebooks and audiobooks from their libraries.”

OverDrive, the worldwide leader for library and school digital books and creator of the award-winning Libby reading app, today released data showing the effects of the pandemic. There’s been a notable increase in demand for digital books overall and young adult and juvenile titles specifically.

  • 38% overall spike in digital book checkouts, increasing each month
    • + 51% increase for ebooks
  • + 13% jump for audiobooks (lower growth likely due to less commuting)Genres seeing the most growth
    • Young Adult Nonfiction – +165%
    • Juvenile Fiction – +90%
    • Juvenile Nonfiction – +82%
  • Libby has seen unprecedented increase in new users, with 2-3x times more installs than average
  • 117 US metro markets now using new Instant Digital Card through Libby, creating 229K instant digital cards in March and April, compared to 142K in all 2019

*Data above compares the daily averages before and after March 13, the official COVID-19 national emergency declaration.


These are the top downloaded titles by audience since the pandemic was announced:


Top Adult Ebooks and Audiobooks in North American Public Libraries

 from 3/13-5/12 (by circulation)

Ebooks Audiobooks
1.     Where the Crawdads Sing by Delia Owens

2.     Becoming by Michelle Obama

3.     Educated by Tara Westover

4.     Little Fires Everywhere by Celeste Ng

5.     The Giver of Stars by Jojo Moyes

6.     Nine Perfect Strangers by Liane Moriarty

7.     Blue Moon by Lee Child

8.     The Dutch House by Ann Patchett

9.     The Guardians by John Grisham

10.  The Silent Patient by Alex Michaelides

1.     Becoming by Michelle Obama

2.     Where the Crawdads Sing by Delia Owens

3.     Educated by Tara Westover

4.     Talking to Strangers by Malcom Gladwell

5.     Everything I Never Told You by Celeste Ng

6.     Girl, Wash Your Face by Rachel Hollis

7.     The Subtle Art of Not Giving a F*ck by Mark Manson

8.     The Giver of Stars by Jojo Moyes

9.     The Dutch House by Ann Patchett

10.  Little Fires Everywhere by Celeste Ng


Top Young Adult and Juvenile Ebooks and Audiobooks in North American Public Libraries from 3/13-5/12 (by circulation)

Young Adults

1.     Funny, You Don’t Look Autistic by Michael McCreary

2.     The Hunger Games series by Suzanne Collins

3.     The Book Thief by Markus Zusak

4.     The Hate U Give by Angie Thomas

5.     The Maze Runner by James Dashner

6.     Miss Peregrine’s Home for Peculiar Children by Ransom Riggs

7.     Turtles All the Way Down by John Green

8.     Children of Blood and Bone by Tomi Adeyemi

9.     One of Us Is Lying by Karen M. McManus

10.  Divergent by Veronica Roth


1.     Harry Potter series by J.K. Rowling

2.     Diary of a Wimpy Kid series by Jeff Kinney

3.     Wonder by R.J. Palacio

4.     The Giver by Lois Lowry

5.     A Wrinkle In Time by Madeleine L’engle

6.     The Lightning Thief by Rick Riordan

7.     Little Women by Louisa May Alcott

8.     Guts by Raina Telgemeier

9.     Anne of Green Gables by L.M. Montgomery

10.  The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe by C.S. Lewis


The Libby app is available from approximately 90 percent of public libraries in North America. Through Libby, users have unprecedented access to thousands of ebooks, audiobooks, comic books, magazines, cookbooks and more from their local library that are free to download with a valid library card. For those who may not have a library card, participating libraries offer an Instant Digital Card through Libby, which gives immediate access to the library by simply providing a valid phone number.

To begin borrowing thousands of ebooks and audiobooks from your local library, download the Libby app from the App Store or Google Play. For more information, visit www.overdrive.com.


About OverDrive

OverDrive is the leading digital reading platform for libraries and schools worldwide. We strive to create “a world enlightened by reading” by delivering the industry’s largest catalog of ebooks, audiobooks, magazines and other digital media to a growing network of 45,000 libraries and schools in 78 countries. Our popular reading apps provide best-in-class user experience and tools for staff management: the Libby app for libraries is one of PCMag’s Best Free Software of 2019 and Popular Mechanics’ 20 Best Apps of the 2010s, while the student reading app Sora is one of TIME’s Best Inventions of 2019. Founded in 1986, OverDrive is based in Cleveland, Ohio USA and was named a Certified B Corp in 2017. www.overdrive.com

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