Australian Public Library Ebook and Audiobook Checkouts Reach Record Heights in 2020
OverDrive acquisition of RBdigital benefits libraries with expanded catalogue and access to award-winning Libby reading app
SYDNEY – 8 February 2021 – During a year when the pandemic caused library building closures, access to digital books has proven an even more valuable service for communities in Australia. As a result, ebook and digital audiobook circulation in 2020 grew 41% in Australian public libraries. This compares favorably to the worldwide growth rate (33%) as well as Australia’s digital circulation growth in 2019 (21%). The data is provided by OverDrive, the leading digital reading platform for 65,000 libraries and schools in 84 countries worldwide including over 1,000 in Australia.
OverDrive has served Australian libraries since 2005 and recently added an experienced local team for support, sales, and strategy, backed up by a professional and responsive team in the U.S. As a result of their RBdigital acquisition in 2020, OverDrive now provides ebook and audiobook access to virtually all public libraries in the country.
“Libraries in Australia have welcomed the acquisition of RBdigital by OverDrive,” said Malcolm O’Brien, OverDrive Country Manager for Australia and New Zealand. “Libraries will now have access to a huge amount of digital content from all over the world and their patrons will get to use Libby, the award-winning OverDrive app.”
The RBdigital acquisition enabled OverDrive to expand their industry-leading catalogue to include more native Australian audiobooks as well as digital magazines. New content includes exclusive access to Wavesound audiobooks with simultaneous loans (no waitlists) including popular, award-winning and key emerging Australian authors as well as a wide range of commercial international titles. Furthermore, the full range of RBdigital magazines supplied by ZINIO, with unlimited simultaneous loans – including The Economist – will be available through the Libby reading app by March this year. Content sales run throughout the year allowing both libraries and schools to maximize their budget and supply in-demand titles to their readers.
OverDrive also provides ebook and audiobook content to public schools around the country through the Sora student reading app. Public libraries can partner with their local school district and enable students to use their school credentials to borrow ebooks and audiobooks from both their school and local public library.
Named one of Popular Mechanics’ 20 Best Apps of the Decade, Libby seamlessly connects first-time users and experienced readers alike with the popular digital collections of libraries. Libby offers unique features including holds management, push notification encouraging users to return their title early (both functions increase circulation and loans) and ease of borrowing from multiple libraries with all titles appearing in one ’shelf’ in the app.
OverDrive partners benefit from Marketplace, an online portal where libraries and schools can handle all aspects of their account including purchasing and curating titles, accessing digital checkout data and reports and much more. In addition, OverDrive’s professional training team holds webinars during Australian business hours for partners new to OverDrive and posts videos for on-demand viewing. Libraries and schools can also find marketing and publicity materials to help inform their community about digital books available through Libby as well as other resources for libraries new to OverDrive.
OverDrive’s Australia and New Zealand Country Manager Malcolm O’Brien is available for questions via virtual booth at ALIA Information Online Conference on 8 February from 9:30am-5pm ACT.
Readers can borrow ebooks and audiobooks from their local library by downloading the Libby app from the App Store or Google Play. For more information, visit https://company.overdrive.com/public-libraries/overdrive-au/
OverDrive strives to create “a world enlightened by reading.” Serving a growing network of 65,000 libraries and schools in 84 countries, OverDrive delivers the industry’s largest digital catalogue of ebooks, audiobooks, magazines and other content through award-winning apps. The Libby reading app for libraries is one of Popular Mechanics’ 20 Best Apps of the Decade, 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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