By: Adam Sockel, OverDrive Social Media Specialist
Earlier this week we shared information from a Pew Research report stating that public awareness of library eBooks has never been higher. The report provided survey findings that show three out of every five adults now know that their library offers digital content, a significant increase from the 38% figure in 2015. In a recent OverDrive survey, we found that a large number of readers started using their library more because of this digital content.
As we’ve previously shared, digital library checkouts continue to occur at a record pace. It’s important to note that as digital circulation rises, so do the number of library users as a whole. In our ongoing survey of visitors to OverDrive-powered library websites, we found that 20 percent were not active library users before discovering OverDrive. This means that as many as one in five users accessing your OverDrive collections would not be library card holders if not for your digital content.
Not only have we learned that readers are coming to the library because of your OverDrive collections, but 70 percent of survey respondents stated that they interact with the digital library at least once per week. New users are coming to the library because of the convenience of 24/7 access – and this is also bringing them back often. They’re also finding the variety of easy-to-access content beneficial. This includes digital audiobooks, with more than 30% of patrons borrowing at least one per month to listen to books on the go.
Interestingly, we also found that, while half of all respondents said they come to the digital library looking for a specific title, 80% said they still borrow titles even if the one they’re looking for isn’t available. Popular authors and titles bring users to your library and having a varied and robust collection will keep them there when they arrive.
Make digital content work for you
These statistics reflect the importance of having a a digital library that is updated frequently. Purchasing digital content often leads to users coming back to borrow that content. Putting more of your budget towards digital content also frees up your staff as there is no need to worry about shelving new books or finding space in your library to promote new materials. The titles show up automatically on your digital library and promoting is as easy as creating curated collections in Marketplace. Adding more digital content saves time and energy while also bringing in new users everyday, which is a win for both the library and your community.