Overdrive is the largest company currently operating in the digital library sector. Thousands of branches in North America rely on Overdrive to power their audiobook, e-book and video catalogs. Next week, at the American Library Association Annual Conference there are going to be some new and exciting changes to make collection managers job a lot easier.
1. The completely new OverDrive app will provide the easiest and fastest experience for readers to read eBooks and listen to audiobooks on a mobile device. Based on OverDrive Read technology, the new app has been engineered from the ground up to quickly onboard first-time users. Readers will always be one click away from online or offline reading, discovering more titles at the library and managing their checkouts. At ALA, library partners will have the opportunity to join a closed beta test of the new OverDrive app.
2. New Merchandising Tools will get more digital books in the hands of readers. Upgrades to the new OverDrive website and user interface provide new ways for libraries to connect with their users. Specifically, consortia libraries that are Advantage members, will continue to benefit from the consortium’s curated collections, but will also have the option to create and publish custom collections that are of interest to their local community. In addition, each library has options for their own unique, static URL to better promote their digital collection. These websites will be rolled out to the OverDrive network beginning in the fall.
3. Digital Book Clubs. Libraries are using Digital Book Clubs to connect with readers. Libraries around the world are increasingly using their OverDrive platform to host and promote “eBook Reading Clubs” enabling dozens of “city read” or “one book, one community” programs.
Publishers are capitalizing on this growing trend by offering libraries eBooks and audiobooks under simultaneous use or bulk discount plans. For example, independent publisher Sourcebooks has created a catalog specifically for library Digital Book Clubs.
4. Circulation and Demand Analysis. At no cost, OverDrive partners can receive a comprehensive Digital Library Performance Analysis. This advanced report not only displays circulation growth, but it also compares a library’s digital circulation to libraries of similar size and population around the country. It shows how a digital collection is performing and can be narrowed down for a closer look at genre, audience and format. This comparison helps librarians identify gaps in their collection or system features to deliver the most valuable digital library experience for readers.
5. Dozens of New Suppliers and Collection Development Tools. OverDrive’s global eBook catalog now offers thousands of comics and graphic novels, including new additions from DC Comics and Viz Media. Public libraries and schools can now offer their readers titles such as Batman: The Killing Joke and popular manga titles such as Naruto, which has sold millions worldwide. In addition, thousands of new titles are now available in dozens of languages, including large collections in Spanish, Polish, French and German. Finally, based on valuable partner feedback, OverDrive has added BISAC (Book Industry Standards and Communications) subject headings to OverDrive titles for enhanced searching. The change is live first in OverDrive Marketplace and will be added to customer-facing websites later.
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.