A number of consumers–both surprised and not-so-surprised–opened tablets or dedicated e-readers yesterday, and a large percentage of those customers went to work straight away with testing out the capabilities of ebook lending from their local public libraries. OverDrive released a statement today that demonstrated that some public library systems saw record circulation traffic on Christmas Day, a time frame when their doors weren’t even open.
“Public libraries utilizing OverDrive’s Next Generation digital lending platform served a record number of eBook, audiobook, music and video titles to patrons on Christmas Day. The most dramatic growth occurred among users of iPad, Kindle Fire and Android devices. With One-Step Checkout™ and powerful, filtered search, the Next Generation library websites are optimized for both PC and mobile users, which helped pilot libraries circulate record single-day numbers of eBooks, audiobooks, music and video. Among the libraries setting all-time eBook circulation records yesterday were Cuyahoga County Public Library (Ohio), Pioneer Library System (Okla.), Hennepin County Library (Minn.), and Mid-Continent Public Library (Mo.),” according to the press release.
“Mobile users account for as much as two-thirds of all traffic at Next Generation pilot libraries, and they’re generating record traffic,” said OverDrive CEO Steve Potash on the OverDrive blog. “This surge in mobile usage, combined with the industry’s largest digital catalog—including a record amount of bestselling content added in 2012—results in more readers engaging with more titles than ever before.”
OverDrive released data on library systems in four different states that all saw a wide-margin of patron use on Christmas Day. While many e-reader recipients would logically be expected to open user accounts with the platform that serves their e-readers and then follow through with a few ebook purchases in the post-gift giving excitement, it actually speaks volumes about where consumers choose to spend their dollars and lend their support that patrons were checking out ebooks on Christmas. Whether it was to take advantage of the frugal nature of libraries in the post-holiday budget blues, or whether it actually sends a statement from consumers that libraries are worthy of their time and electronics, remains to be understood.