From the press release:
OverDrive (www.overdrive.com) will announce at the London Book Fair (Booth X700) April 16-18, the first of a series of “Big Data” reports analyzing billions of eBook impressions and other data collected from across its network of 18,000 public and school libraries. Data from OverDrive’s global library network to be made available to participating libraries and publishers includes information about eBook and digital audiobook title circulation, book demand and holds as well as web traffic and general demographics. OverDrive’s data reports were developed in compliance with library privacy policies and do not include any identifying user information.
In March 2012, over 337,000 visitors a day from 219 countries browsed the OverDrive-hosted “virtual branch” websites of more than 18,000 libraries to search, discover and sample book content. This resulted in over 146 million page views for the month, and library visitors stayed on the sites for an average of 9.5 minutes, viewing an average 11.6 pages per visit. Also in March, OverDrive library catalog browsers viewed more than 636 million title cover images.
In light of recent studies reporting on how library eBook lending drives retail sales (including Library Journal “Patron Profiles,” Oct. 2011), the ability to understand readers’ browsing and borrowing interests is becoming an important tool for publishers’ and booksellers’ strategies. The impact of libraries on book sales was also reported in the Pew Internet report, “The Rise of e-Reading” (April 4, 2012), which concluded that the majority of readers of eBooks (61%) prefer to purchase their own copies of eBooks books rather than borrow them. The study also contained data showing that librarians and libraries are a prominent source (21%) for owners of e-reading devices to get recommendations for reading materials.
“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.”
For example, in March 2012, “The Anatomist’s Apprentice” by Tessa Harris (Kensington Publishing), released in late December 2011, rose to position No. 131 on the most-circulated library eBooks out of more than 700,000 titles in the OverDrive catalog. This title ranked No. 168 among more than 84,000 titles placed on hold. A major factor in the increased popularity of “The Anatomist’s Apprentice” was the fact that this title enjoyed over 511,000 cover image impressions from OverDrive-hosted library catalogs in March alone.
OverDrive library data reports will include metrics for titles, authors, series and promotional campaigns targeting use of the materials in the OverDrive-hosted catalogs. The data initiatives are being developed in consultation with an advisory panel which includes librarians and marketing professionals from libraries in the United States, Canada and the United Kingdom. The program complies with library privacy policies and will not disclose any personally identifying user information.