Last week Overdrive disclosed to Good e-Reader that overall circulation has grown 12% year-over-year (through June 30th) to more than 108 million checkouts for all digital media across all OverDrive libraries and schools. eBook circulation has grown 9%, and the popularity of audiobooks keeps accelerating with nearly 23% growth in circulation year over year through the first half of 2017. Overdrive is experiencing record growth, but what does it truly mean ? Well, 60 libraries are on pace to loan out over one million digital titles by the end of the year.
Last year, a record 49 libraries had one million checkouts and it looks like a new benchmark will be set in 2017. Records are meant to be broken, after all. In 2015, the number of library systems hitting one million checkouts was 33 and two years this amount doubled. In the first six months of 2017, 60 libraries have surpassed 500,000+ circulations and another ten are really close. In fact, 15 libraries have already passed the one million checkout threshold. I surmise that by the end of the year there will be 5 libraries that loan out two million audiobooks and e-books.
The Million Checkout milestone is both a great achievement and a marketing tool for public libraries in North America and Europe. Many libraries boost their marketing efforts during the holidays to promote the service and reach that goal. Neighboring libraries have even created friendly competitions to see who can circulate the most eBooks, audiobooks and other digital content. These events often spark inspiration for other libraries to say, “Next year that will be us!”
Michael Kozlowski is the Editor in Chief of Good e-Reader. He has been writing about audiobooks and e-readers for the past ten years. His articles have been picked up by major and local news sources and websites such as the CBC, CNET, Engadget, Huffington Post and the New York Times.