Data from billions of digital book transactions offer unparalleled insights for collection efficiencies and reader engagement


CHICAGO – June 22, 2023  At the 2023 American Library Association Annual Conference & Exhibition, OverDrive will preview data from ongoing research conducted to uncover circulation insights for digital library collections. Attendees can learn about collection efficiencies and reader engagement to address growing patron demand for ebooks, audiobooks, magazines and streaming video at the OverDrive exhibit, Booth #4025 at McCormick Place Convention Center from June 23-26, 2023.

“OverDrive data scientists are evaluating the performance of digital library collections to uncover best practices for lending efficiency. These include the utilization of multiple content access models and curation practices and their impact on reader engagement,” said Susan Gross Ph.D., OverDrive’s lead researcher. “We want to provide reports that inform digital library budgets, community programming as well as to support literacy campaigns.”

The company will publish its Science of Digital Library Performance whitepaper following Digipalooza ‘23, its international digital library conference, August 9-11, 2023, in Cleveland, Ohio. The report will contain results from the analysis of 16,000 libraries and billions of anonymized circulations. Research is being conducted in three categories: Digital Collection Development Practices, Merchandising and Audience Engagement, and Literacy and Reading Data.

A sampling of findings to be contained in the whitepaper:

  • Cost-per-Loan: Libraries that utilized multiple OverDrive Marketplace content access models reduced their cost-per-checkout across their entire digital collection compared to libraries that did not (based on data January 1–June 8, 2023).
    • CPC (Cost per circ) Access Model: 17 percent lower cost per checkout ($.91) compared to libraries that did not utilize CPC ($1.09).
    • OverDrive Max Access Model: 25 percent lower cost per checkout ($.92) vs. those that did not utilize OverDrive Max ($1.23).
      • Note: Results reflect utilization of CPC and OverDrive Max in combination with other factors, such as multiple lending models and proven curation and merchandising practices.
    • Between May 2021 and May 2023, libraries have increased the number of distinct titles purchased in CPC (32,479 to 41,746; +29 percent) and OverDrive Max (4,732 to 7,853; +66 percent).
  • Patron Interests and Holds Data:
    • Between April and June 2023, patrons used the Notify Me tag in the Libby app to indicate titles of interest that are not in the library’s digital collection 7.7 million times for 920,000 unique titles from approximately 15,000 libraries.
    • Libby users have the option to place a hold on a title if it is unavailable for immediate checkout, and can cancel or suspend the hold while keeping their place in line to borrow at a later date. In a sample of over 171 million holds placed through OverDrive or Libby (July 2022-June 2023), 77 percent were successfully fulfilled as checkouts and 23 percent were cancelled. Of the 171 million holds, 39 percent were suspended (and may or may not have resulted in a checkout). Of those suspended holds, 53 percent were ultimately cancelled. In summary, holds are more likely to convert into checkouts when holds are not suspended.
    • The sooner a hold is filled, the less likely it will be suspended: Median wait time for title availability: 12 days when not suspended and 17 days when suspended.

Publication of the Science of Digital Library Performance whitepaper will be announced later this year on the OverDrive public library blog. To learn more, contact your Account Manager.

Visit ALA Annual Booth #4025 to learn about recent updates for OverDrive Marketplace, Libby, Sora, Kanopy and To find a public library near you, download the Libby app (iOS, Android, Amazon), use Libby in browser ( or visit


About OverDrive

OverDrive is a mission-based company that stands with libraries. Named a Certified B Corp in 2017, OverDrive serves more than 88,000 libraries and schools in 109 countries with the industry’s largest digital catalog of ebooks, audiobooks, magazines, video, and other content. Award-winning apps and services include the Libby library reading app, the Sora student reading app, Kanopy, the leading video streaming app for libraries and colleges, and, which offers supplemental materials that bring books to life. Founded in 1986, OverDrive is based in Cleveland, Ohio USA.


David Burleigh

Director of Brand & Communications