OverDrive, the powerhouse that makes ebook and audio download books possible to over 15,000 public and school libraries, released some surprising numbers on the use of ebook lending enabled libraries. Some of those numbers can be attributed to the work that OverDrive has done on its WIN catalog of titles, which stands for “Want It Now,” not usually a sentiment that is associated with library patrons.
As GoodEReader reported this week, the WIN platform enhancements have enabled numerous publishers to put their back list and out-of-print titles in front of library patrons, even if the libraries in question haven’t got the funding to publish all of those titles. By displaying the available ebooks in the various publisher catalogs to patrons, as well as linking the libraries websites to several major online book selling retailers, libraries stand to benefit from the affiliates’ program while patrons have the option to purchase ebooks that their libraries may not offer.
Some of the popularity of ebook lending libraries that OverDrive has noted for the calendar year 2011 through September 30th include almost triple the number of ebook check-outs over all of 2010, more than two million new users signed up for this year, and a rise in smartphone reading to account for 21% of all ebook checkouts. The OverDrive application has now been installed an astounding 9 million times on various e-readers, tablets, and smartphones. This year, OverDrive added capability with Kindle and with the Sony Reader, reaching more library patrons than ever before.
With the wealth of ebooks titles available and an increase in the use of digital indie publishing platforms which enable authors to post their own works as ebooks, more and more readers are turning to ebook lending libraries and websites for content, especially in recent months when best-selling titles have often been marketed at a very similar price point to their print counterparts.