Reader demand for ebooks, audiobooks, digital magazines and streaming video drives library lending to grow by 19 percent


CLEVELAND – January 4, 2024 – Librarians and educators achieved new milestones in 2023 by providing increasingly robust streaming options to satisfy the interests of all ages and audiences. Readers worldwide borrowed 662 million ebooks, audiobooks and digital magazines, a 19 percent increase over 2022. This growth was driven by a regular cadence of new release blockbuster titles, as well as new Libby reading app features and cost-effective access models. Streaming video through libraries and colleges on Kanopy also reached a record 23 million plays. Aggregated data was reported by OverDrive, the leading digital content platform for 92,000 libraries and schools in 115 countries worldwide.

2023 also marked the award-winning Libby app’s one billionth digital book checkout. Due to the outreach efforts of 22,000 public libraries around the globe, more than 9 million people installed the Libby app in 2023 and became new library users, signaling the continued expansion of library services both inside and outside the branch. In addition, bestselling new titles like Spare, Verity, Lessons in Chemistry and Fourth Wing as well as Libby’s new Notify Me tag feature and the growing popularity of digital magazines fueled the record digital checkouts. Behind the scenes, the new “OverDrive Max” lending model provided greater flexibility and value for library budgets by providing “bundled checkouts” for 400,000 digital ebook and audiobook titles.

Kanopy’s growth was supported by their upgraded flexible program models, an expanded catalog with new and exclusive streaming titles, and the introduction of the highly anticipated Kanopy Kids subscription option.

2023 digital lending records from the OverDrive global network:

  • Total digital checkouts from libraries and schools: 662 million (+19% over 2022)
    • Ebooks borrowed: 370 million (+12%)
    • Audiobooks borrowed: 235 million (+23%)
    • Magazines borrowed: 56 million (+75%)
    • Comics and graphic novels: 37 million (+14%)
    • Ebook and audiobook holds/wait listed: 253 million (+19%)
  • Public library systems achieving more than 1 million digital book checkouts: 152 public library systems in seven countries (+13%)
    • Includes one system over 12 million digital book checkouts, two over 11 million and 73 other systems over 2 million checkouts (full list available soon).
  • Libby app checkouts grew 17 percent, and millions of first-time users installed the app (+22%)
  • Sora student reading platform checkouts grew 11 percent, and 4 school systems borrowed more than 1 million digital books through the Sora app
    • Digital books borrowed by students on Sora from public libraries through Public Library CONNECT: 5 million (+6%)
  • Kanopy streaming video achieved new records in 2023
    • 13 million hours watched (+14%)
    • Nearly 24 million plays (+9%)
    • 6 million new users (+6%)
  • OverDrive’s Marketplace also experienced a record year
    • More than 600,000 new titles added into the OverDrive catalog (+12%)

2023 top titles borrowed in the OverDrive global network. See full list.

  • Most popular ebooks borrowed from libraries in 2023:
    1. Verity by Colleen Hoover (Grand Central Publishing)
    2. Lessons in Chemistry by Bonnie Garmus (Knopf Doubleday Publishing Group)
    3. It Starts with Us by Colleen Hoover (Atria Books)
    4. It Ends with Us by Colleen Hoover (Atria Books)
    5. Happy Place by Emily Henry (Penguin Publishing Group)
  • Most popular audiobooks borrowed from libraries in 2023:
    1. Fourth Wing by Rebecca Yarros (Recorded Books, Inc.)
    2. Spare by Prince Harry, Duke of Sussex (Books on Tape)
    3. I’m Glad My Mom Died by Jennette McCurdy (Simon & Schuster Audio)
    4. Lessons in Chemistry by Bonnie Garmus (Books on Tape)
    5. A Court of Thorns and Roses by Sarah J. Maas (Recorded Books, Inc.)
    1. Big Nates series by Lincoln Peirce (Andrews McMeel Publishing)
    2. Diary of a Wimpy Kid series by Jeff Kinney (Amulet Books)
    3. Baby-Sitters Club Graphix series by Ann M. Martin (Scholastic Inc.)
    4. Dog Man series by Dav Pilkey (Scholastic Inc.)
    5. Heartstopper series by Alice Oseman (Scholastic Inc.)
  • Top digital books borrowed from libraries by genre:
  • Adult fiction: Fourth Wing by Rebecca Yarros
  • Adult nonfiction: Spare by Prince Harry, Duke of Sussex
  • Young adult fiction: A Court of Thorns and Roses by Sarah J. Maas
  • Children’s fiction: Diary of a Wimpy Kid by Jeff Kinney
  • Top books used for digital book clubs by more than 14,000 public libraries (avg. 400 checkouts per club):
  • Top digital books requested from libraries via Notify Me tags
    1. Iron Flame by Rebecca Yarros
    2. None of This Is True by Lisa Jewell
    3. The Woman in Me by Britney Spears
    4. House of Flame and Shadow by Sarah J. Maas
    5. The Last Devil to Die by Richard Osman
  • Top films watched from libraries via Kanopy (full list):
    1. Everything Everywhere All at Once (A24)
    2. Triangle of Sadness (Neon)
    3. The YouTube Effect (Drafthouse Films)
    4. Minari (A24)
    5. The Green Knight (A24)
  • Top documentaries watched from libraries via Kanopy
    1. The YouTube Effect (Drafthouse Films)
    2. Desperate Souls, Dark City and the Legend of Midnight Cowboy (Kino Lorber)
    3. Kubrick by Kubrick (Level 33 Entertainment)
    4. Florence and the Uffizi Gallery (Film Movement)
    5. Some Kind of Heaven (Magnolia Pictures)
  • Top TV series watched from libraries via Kanopy
    1. Manhattan (Lionsgate)
    2. Shakespeare and Hathaway: Private Investigators (BBC Studios)
    3. SS-GB (BBC Studios)
    4. The Forsyte Saga (PBS)
    5. Alone (The History Channel)

To find a public library near you, download the Libby app (iOS, Android) or visit Learn more about Kanopy.


About OverDrive

OverDrive is a mission-based company that stands with libraries. Named a Certified B Corp in 2017, OverDrive serves more than 92,000 libraries and schools in 115 countries with the industry’s largest digital catalog of ebooks, audiobooks, magazines, video and other content. OverDrive empowers libraries and schools by expanding access for all through tireless industry advocacy and consistent innovation. Award-winning apps and services include the Libby library reading app, the Sora student reading platform, Kanopy, the leading video streaming app for libraries and colleges, and, which offers one of the largest catalogs of supplemental materials that enhance literacy outcomes. Founded in 1986, OverDrive is based in Cleveland, Ohio USA.


David Burleigh
Director of Communications