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OverDrive Digs into Data

As forecasted, OverDrive has begun analyzing the masses of data collected across its network of public and school libraries. The first report — made available to ALA, UK libraries, and publishers participating with OverDrive — includes information about eBook and digital audiobook title circulation, book demand and holds, as well as web traffic and general demographics.

For instance, in March 2012, nearly 60 percent of readers browsed — defined as exploring the catalog without a targeted search term — public library ebook collections to discover new content. Browsers viewed more than 636 million title cover images. Serendipity and discovery continue in the e-world!

“OverDrive’s valuable eBook data confirms the benefits that books and authors in library channels enjoy in terms of exposure and discovery to a highly desirable audience,” said Alexis Wiles, OverDrive Manager of Publisher Relations. “We’ve seen the popularity of both frontlist and midlist titles soar in the library, building a loyal following not only through the volume of impressions, but also in conjunction with targeted publisher campaigns and the various social and readers’ advisory features included in the library websites.”

During March 2012, 5 million visitors viewed 146 million pages over 12.6 million visits to OverDrive-hosted digital catalogs.

The OverDrive data initiatives are being developed in consultation with an advisory panel that includes librarians and marketing professionals from libraries in the United States, Canada and the United Kingdom. The program will not disclose any personally identifying user information.

I’m very glad OverDrive has taken on the big job of harnessing this data to help participating libraries and publishers better understand what’s happening now so we can plan for tomorrow. The more I know, the more I want to know! ALA looks forward to working with and learning more from OverDrive data and seeing trends over time.

If knowledge is power, we’re building some muscle from this effort, as well as work underway by the Pew Research Center’s Internet & American Life Project.

Larra Clark
Associate Director, Program on America’s Libraries for the 21st Century

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Jacob Roberts is the communications specialist for the ALA Washington Office.

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