Readers Borrow Record Number of Ebooks and Audiobooks from the Library in 2016

Jan 10, 2017

The trend in digital reading continued its growth in 2016 as a record number of readers turned to their local library and school to enjoy ebooks and audiobooks. According to OverDrive, a digital reading platform for libraries and schools, readers borrowed 196 million digital books, an increase of 21% over 2015. Of the 678 million visits to library and school websites, readers borrowed more ebooks (+16%) and audiobooks (+34%) from their local and school libraries digital catalog compared to last year.

The record growth can be attributed to several key factors. For instance, more libraries are hosting digital Book Clubs using the OverDrive platform. More than 200 digital Book Clubs in 31 countries and on six continents took place last year. Some of 2016’s most popular eBooks (see below) were featured in OverDrive’s Big Library Read program, a worldwide digital Book Club.

People live life on the go and readers are increasingly using audiobooks through their daily exercise routine, doing work around their house or while traveling. The number of people who used OverDrive Listen for audiobooks jumped 67% in 2016.

Younger readers are reading more and increasingly embracing public library Children’s and YA eBook collections. 2016 saw a 19% increase in children’s ebooks borrowed.

Spanish, Chinese, Russian, French, and other non-English readers are discovering the growing eBook and audiobook catalogs now available from their libraries with nearly a 40% increase in non-English books borrowed.

Other highlights of growth from the OverDrive global network:

  • Total digital titles borrowed from libraries and schools: 195 million (+21%)
  • eBook circulation: 139 million (+16%)
  • Audiobook circulation: 55 million (+34%)
  • 49 library systems achieved at least 1 million digital checkouts