OverDrive use data – demand doubled but what about circulation?

Below is a press release from OverDrive regarding 2011 use stats.  Clearly the demand for library eBooks has increased; “doubled” according to the press release.  While I’m thoroughly impressed by the interest and demand in content, I can’t help but focus on 4 of the statistics below. 1.6 billion book/title pages viewed by 99 million visitors, yet only 35 million digital titles were checked out in 2011 with 17 million holds (OverDrive did not indicate % increases here).  How can we meet the growing demands of patrons when the holds list is nearly half of the checkouts?  Public librarians, is this proportionate to your print circulation/holds data?  Additionally, if 99 million people visited the site, how many of them left with either an item checked out or placed on hold?  Reading between the lines, it looks to me like 99 million visitors tried very hard to search the catalog (1.6 billion views) for an available title and most left with nothing.

Here is more from the press release:

Dallas, TX – American Library Association Midwinter Conference, Jan. 19, 2012 – OverDrive, the leading global distributor of eBooks and audiobooks, will release 2011 year-end statistics from its global network of 18,000 libraries and schools in 21 countries at the American Library Association Midwinter Conference in Dallas, January 20-23 (Booth 845).  Due to the rapid expansion of device compatibility and consumer awareness, eBook discovery and online reader visits at libraries and schools worldwide experienced triple digit growth in 2011: OverDrive library website traffic more than doubled to 1.6 billion page views and visitor sessions also doubled to nearly 100 million.  At the conference, OverDrive will share statistics and user profile data as well as demonstrate new digital book discovery services to help libraries meet the exploding demand.

Key statistics for library eBooks, audiobooks and digital media from OverDrive-powered ‘Virtual Branch’ websites in 2011 include:

  • 1.6 billion book and title catalog pages viewed, up 130% from 2010
  • 99.5 million visitor sessions, up 107%
  • Mobile device use increased to 22% of all checkouts
  • 35 million digital titles checked out in 2011, with 17 million holds
  • The OverDrive catalog for libraries now includes 700,000 copyrighted eBook, audiobook, music, and video titles in 52 languages, including 300,000 titles added in 2011
  • In 2011 OverDrive Media Console (free eBook and audiobook apps) was installed by 5 million users (up 84%) bringing the total install base to 11 million
  • Readers used OverDrive eBooks on all desktop and major smartphone and e-reading platforms including Android, iPhone®, iPod touch®, iPad®, Windows® Phone and BlackBerry®, as well as Kindle®, NOOK™, Sony® Reader and others.

At the ALA Midwinter Conference OverDrive will demonstrate new digital book discovery services to help libraries meet eBook demand.  These include a new OverDrive “All Digital” catalog feed that will provide library visitors immediate access to browse and sample entire publisher and author eBook and audiobook backlist and long tail collections regardless of whether the library has acquired units for lending.  For participating libraries, the service also features patron-driven acquisition options and “Buy it Now” links connecting readers with booksellers, which in turn pay the referring library affiliate fees for all referrals that result in a sale.

During 2011, the Digital Bookmobile (www.digitalbookmobile.com), a high-tech 18-wheeler traveling North America on behalf of public libraries to raise awareness about digital reading, visited nearly 100 libraries and schools.  Since the tour launched in 2008, the Digital Bookmobile has held 400 events and trained more than 87,500 users on digital downloads from the library. The Digital Bookmobile national tour will be on the road again this year, starting in the Los Angeles area in early February.

OverDrive provides digital distribution services for more than 18,000 libraries, schools and booksellers worldwide with support for Windows®, Mac®, iPod®, iPhone, iPad, Sony® Reader, NOOK™, Android™, BlackBerry® and Kindle®.  To find a participating library, visit http://search.overdrive.com.

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