OverDrive Reports Record eBook, Audiobook Loans in 2015

15977328712_4185910a34_hAccording to OverDrive, 2015 was a record year for libraries' digital

More ebooks were loaned through OverDrive's partner libraries than ever before, and also more audiobooks.

eBook circulation rose by almost a fifth, while 36% more audiobooks were checked out in 2015 than in previous years and streaming video usage almost doubled.

That is impressive, but it's also worth remembering that the figures reflect loans made by new partners signed during 2015, and not just increased activity at existing library partners, and so the stats represent OverDrive doing more business more than an increase in library ebook adoption among patrons.

That still remains either low or disappointingly low, depending on which survey you look at.

Here's the press release:

2015 was a banner year for libraries with record numbers of readers turning to their local library to borrow and download popular eBooks and audiobooks.OverDrive, the industry leader for digital book lending serving over 90 percent of the nation’s libraries, reports that in 2015 readers borrowed more than 169 million digital books. This is an increase of 24 percent over 2014 with a notable surge in audiobooks usage, which achieved a faster growth rate than eBook library borrowing.

Highlights of record-setting growth from the OverDrive network of lending libraries for 2015 include:

Total digital titles borrowed from libraries & schools: 169 million (+24% over 2014)
o eBook circulation: 125 million (+19% growth over 2014)
o Digital audiobook circulation: 43 million (+36% growth over 2014)
o Streaming video circulation (+83% over 2014)
o Introduced in late 2014, the circulation of digital magazines and newspapers also grew significantly in 2015
33 library systems circulated 1 million or greater digital books during 2015
Reader visits to OverDrive-powered library & school websites: 750 million (+14% increase from 2014)

“This past year was a breakthrough year for libraries offering their readers anytime, anywhere access to their digital catalogs,” said Shannon Lichty, Director of Partner Services at OverDrive. “eBooks and audiobooks are serving more kids, young adults, travelers, students and readers of all genres of books than ever through innovative tools and expanded digital catalogs that our library partners offer.”

Helping drive digital book circulation at libraries are new tools offered to librarians, including “OverDrive Insights,” real-time analytics on digital book usage that enables libraries to customize and curate their collections to meet the demands of their audiences. This combined with a greater catalog of available eBooks from thousands of publishers and the success of OverDrive Read-Alongs(professional narrated audio synced to the words on the page using industry-standard EPUB3) andOverDrive Listen (instant streaming for audiobooks from a library catalog or the OverDrive app).

OverDrive’s industry-leading global catalog offers content in 50 languages from more than 5,000 and over 3.3 million titles. The most popular eBooks and audiobooks of 2015 borrowed from libraries (based on checkouts + holds):

Top eBooks borrowed from libraries
1. The Girl on the Train, Paula Hawkins (Penguin Publishing Group)
2. All the Light We Cannot See, Anthony Doerr (Scribner)
3. Gone Girl, Gillian Flynn (Crown/Archetype)
4. The Martian, Andy Weir (Crown/Archetype)
5. Go Set a Watchman, Harper Lee (HarperCollins)

Top digital audiobooks borrowed from libraries
1. The Girl on the Train, Paula Hawkins (Books on Tape)
2. All the Light We Cannot See, Anthony Doerr (Simon & Schuster Audio)
3. Gone Girl, Gillian Flynn (Penguin Random House Audio Publishing Group)
4. Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone, J.K. Rowling (Pottermore)
5. Yes Please, Amy Poehler (HarperCollins)

Top digital books borrowed from libraries in other categories                               

Adult nonfiction eBook: Unbroken, Laura Hillenbrand (Random House Publishing Group).

Children/YA fiction eBook: The Maze Runner, James Dashner (Random House Children’s books).
Children/YA nonfiction eBook: Brown Girl Dreaming, Jacqueline Woodson (Penguin Young Readers Group).
Children/young adult fiction audiobook: Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone, J.K. Rowling (Pottermore)
Read-Along eBooks: Scaredy Squirrel at Night, Mélanie Watt (Kids Can Press Ltd.)

image by infomatique

About Nate Hoffelder (11226 Articles)
Nate Hoffelder is the founder and editor of The Digital Reader:"I've been into reading ebooks since forever, but I only got my first ereader in July 2007. Everything quickly spiraled out of control from there. Before I started this blog in January 2010 I covered ebooks, ebook readers, and digital publishing for about 2 years as a part of MobileRead Forums. It's a great community, and being a member is a joy. But I thought I could make something out of how I covered the news for MobileRead, so I started this blog."

3 Comments on OverDrive Reports Record eBook, Audiobook Loans in 2015

  1. After the agency price hikes I had to make a change…14.99 every book…insanity. I borrowed for the first time this year…a little over 20 books…all of which I would have bought.
    Maryland’s Overdrive has worked fairly well for me. I would rather buy ebooks but at 14.99 I have to draw a line. Sales Lost.

  2. Nate, could you please give details as to why borrowing an Overdrive book via Kindle is a hassle? I find it ridiculously easy myself. And I don’t have to make a trip to the library to pick up the book and another to return it.

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