How do you make the intangible tangible? What’s the best way promote your library’s digital collection to patrons visiting the physical branch?  Many OverDrive partners have raised awareness for their eBook and audiobook collections by hanging posters around the library, passing out bookmarks at checkout with the URL for the digital collection, hosting patron training events, and setting up a display of compatible eReaders, tablets and MP3 players.


Recently, staff members at Sacramento Public Library came up with a clever way to connect its physical and digital collections: they place “Now in eBook Format!” stickers on the covers of corresponding titles in the physical collection. Electronic resources librarian Amy Calhoun explains how Sacramento PL has improved discovery of eBook titles among patrons visiting the library branches.


Some great things about eBooks: they don’t take up space on your shelves, they don’t need dusting, and you’ll never find one returned with a piece of lettuce being used as a bookmark. Despite the merits of eBooks, it can be difficult to promote books that only exist in the virtual world. Our library locations see thousands of visitors each year, and we want to reach those patrons with information about our eBook holdings. To do so, Sacramento Public Library is raising awareness for our OverDrive collection by giving our eBooks a physical presence in the library.


We place “Now in eBook Format!” medallion stickers on the book covers of new titles that the library owns in both book and eBook format. The medallion includes our web address, so patrons discover both the book and where to find our online library. For the first time, patrons can see a display of eBook titles in the real world, instead of only online! 

We also created eBook Shelf Cards, which interfile with the books on the shelf, serving as a visual representation of the many titles in our eBook collection. The template is customizable, so librarians choose which eBooks they want to feature on their shelves.


At Sacramento Public Library, our patrons love eBooks, and we’re making those books easier to find than ever. Our statistics show the love: our eBook circulation has increased over 100 percent compared to our circulation at the same time last year. This November, we had 18,185 eBook checkouts, while last November we only had 8,377 checkouts.


These techniques remind our users that library books are available to them at all hours and from any location.  


Sacramento Public Library won the “Inside the Library” category in our 2012 Outreach Program Contest.


Melissa Marin is a Marketing Specialist at OverDrive.



9 Responses to “Give eBooks a Physical Presence: Sacramento PL Shares Marketing Ideas”

    • Michael Lovett

      Hi- Yes, a “shelftaker” template based on Sacramento’s example is on the way. Stay tuned! -Mike

  1. Pat Rapp

    You know what would make those shelf cards even better? A QR code that would link the patron directly to the ebook in the catalog, so they could check it out right then and there, while they’re looking at it.

  2. Amy Calhoun

    Hi Pat,

    You’re right about the QR code! It’s not shown in the photo, but the flip side of the bookmark is a QR code (though the example one is incorrect). View our example as a PDF here:

    I can also share the Adobe InDesign template if you email me at acalhoun at

  3. Amy

    I’d love the template too please! We are just getting ready to launch our Overdrive and this would be a great way to promote it! Do you have your shelftakers professionally printed or do you print them in house?

  4. Pat Kuhn

    Hello! We are also looking for a way to promote our e book collection. If possible, I would love the template of the e-book shelf card sent to Thanks

    • Adam Sockel

      Hi Pat, Contact your OverDrive Account Specialist and they’ll be able to provide you that template as well as numerous other marketing materials. Thanks!

  5. Sarah

    Hi! I stumbled across this idea while searching for a way to make my ebooks have representation. I would LOVE this template, too!