One billion. It’s a defining number that’s hard to fathom yet understood as a massive milestone. There are very few things that can use the number 1 billion to describe what they represent. Recently, digital library checkouts through OverDrive became one of them. On February 10, Team OverDrive watched as our all-time checkouts surpassed 1 billion, officially joining the three comma club.
We’re proud of this accomplishment, but it’s not something we ever could’ve reached on our own. The librarians and staff at the 40,000 library and school partners we work with around the world deserve all the credit for spreading the word and evangelizing the joys of digital reading. Because of their tireless work, this isn’t the end of a journey, but rather the first step toward billions more moments of reading happiness. At PLA this week, we’ll be celebrating our Billion Book Bash with hundreds of our closest librarian friends. If you’ll be in Philadelphia for the conference, we hope you’ll join us.
There are untold numbers of interactions that happen every day, but when you’re reading a book, it’s just you and that story. Time stops. The world around you freezes. You could be sailing the high seas, in a distant galaxy or in the living room of a small farmhouse. Regardless of the book you’ve picked up, in that singular moment it’s just you, those words and nothing else.
So many things had to happen for a reader to be connected with the right book. There are infinite possibilities and sidetracks that could prevent someone from sitting down and reading, but they found a way to make that moment happen. When this interaction between reader and story happens on a device, it’s our job to make sure that happiness feels like magic. The fact that someone can learn about a book while scrolling through social media and then borrow it instantly from their library all without ever leaving the couch is designed to provide a sense of wonder in their minds.
Thanks to the tireless efforts of librarians continuously promoting literacy and reading, we’re able to keep innovating, creating apps and services designed not just for the next billion checkouts, but for the many billions to come. By partnering every day with these champions of literacy, we’re working to create a world enlightened by reading. One billion is great, but we’re only just getting started.