Popular authors plus free and convenient Libby app drive library lending to grow by 21 percent


LONDON – 17 January 2024 – Librarians in the UK achieved new milestones in 2023 by providing increasingly robust download and streaming options to satisfy the interests of all ages and audiences. Readers throughout the UK borrowed 16.5 million ebooks, audiobooks and digital magazines from public libraries using OverDrive and Libby, a 21 percent increase year over year, outpacing the OverDrive global network’s growth of 19 percent. Aggregated data was reported by OverDrive, the leading digital content platform for 92,000 libraries and schools in 115 countries worldwide, and creator of the award-winning free Libby library reading app.

As digital book lending continues to flourish in UK public libraries and around the world, these community institutions remain an essential resource for free reading materials through the Libby app. Since 2021, UK public libraries have seen a 34 percent increase in ebook and audiobook checkouts. Audiobooks experienced a significant growth in circulation this year alone, increasing by 17 percent, continuing their meteoric rise in popularity over the past decade, while digital magazine checkouts grew in 2023 by 42 percent, due in large part to the expanded selection available as well as to Libby’s recently added one-tap magazine checkout feature. Libraries NI in Ireland and Kent County Council in England both exceeded one million digital book checkouts in 2023.

2023 also marked the award-winning Libby app’s one billionth global digital book checkout. Worldwide, more than nine million people installed the Libby app in 2023 and became new library users, signaling the continued expansion of global library services both inside and outside the branch.

2023 top digital books borrowed in the Libby reading app

  • Most popular ebooks borrowed from UK libraries in 2023:
    1. The Bullet That Missed by Richard Osman
    2. Yellowface by Rebecca F Kuang (Together We Read UK digital book club title)
    3. Lessons in Chemistry by Bonnie Garmus
    4. The Man Who Died Twice by Richard Osman
    5. The Last Goodnight by Kat Martin
  • Most popular audiobooks borrowed from UK libraries in 2023:
    1. Harry Potter (series) by J.K. Rowling
    2. Pride and Prejudice by Jane Austen
    3. Every City Is Every Other City by John McFetridge
    4. Yellowface by Rebecca F. Kuang (Together We Read UK digital book club title)
    5. Fourth Wing by Rebecca Yarros
  • Most popular digital magazines borrowed from UK libraries in 2023:
    1. Radio Times
    2. HELLO! magazine
    3. New Scientist International Edition
    4. BBC Good Food Magazine
    5. The Week UK
  • Most popular comics and graphic novels borrowed from UK libraries in 2023:
    1. Diary of a Wimpy Kidseries by Jeff Kinney
    2. Big Nateseries by Lincoln Peirce
    3. Dog Manseries by Dav Pilkey
    4. Baby-Sitters Club Graphix series by Ann M. Martin
    5. Cat Kid Comic Club series by Dav Pilkey
  • Top digital books borrowed from UK libraries by genre:
  • Adult fiction: The Bullet That Missed by Richard Osman
  • Adult nonfiction: Becoming by Michelle Obama
  • Young adult fiction: A Court of Thorns and Roses by Sarah J. Maas
  • Children’s fiction: Harry Potter series by J.K. Rowling


  • Top films watched from UK libraries via Kanopy:
    1. Donnie Darko (Arrow Films)
    2. The Phone Call (Network Ireland Television)
    3. Dial M for Murder (SGL Entertainment)
    4. The Great Dictator (The Criterion Collection)
    5. Suspiria (SGL Entertainment)
  • Top documentaries watched from UK libraries via Kanopy
    1. Helvetica (Film First Corp)
    2. Bob Marley: Up Close and Personal (Filmhub, Inc.)
    3. Chang (Kino Lorber)
    4. The Devil Never Sleeps (Women Make Movies)
    5. The Empty Classroom (El aula vacía) (Pragda)

The Libby reading app provides readers with access to their local library’s extensive digital collection, including popular ebooks, audiobooks, magazines, cookbooks and more. To get started with Libby, library patrons can download the Libby app and sign in with a valid library card or sign up for one in the app.

Thousands of public libraries across the world also offer Kanopy, leading streaming provider of award-winning film and television.

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


About OverDrive

OverDrive is a mission-based company that stands with libraries. Named a Certified B Corp in 2017, OverDrive has a dedicated team in the United Kingdom. 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 TeachingBooks.net, which offers one of the largest catalogs of supplemental materials that enhance literacy outcomes. Founded in 1986, OverDrive is based in Cleveland, Ohio USA. www.overdrive.com


David Burleigh
Director of Brand & Communications