OverDrive Reports More than Half a Billion Digital Library Loans in 2021

OverDrive Reports More than Half a Billion Digital Library Loans in 2021
Written by Publishing Team

OverDrive, the leading provider of digital services in the digital library market, has reported another strong year of growth in digital library lending, although the growth rate has slowed from 2020.

In the January 5 issue, OverDrive reported about 506 million digital loans (e-book, audiobook, and digital magazine) in 2021, an increase of 16% over 2020. The data comes from more than 76,000 libraries and schools in 94 countries around the world using OverDrive Applications and services. The company also reported that 121 public library systems in seven countries crossed the one million mark for digital book loans, up from 102 libraries that reached the mark in 2020.

With more than half a billion annual loans for the first time, OverDrive’s 2021 numbers indicate that the pandemic, librarians have suggested, has increased demand for digital content in public libraries. In 2020, following widespread library and school closures due to Covid-19, OverDrive reported 430 million loans, up 33% from 2019. In 2019, the year before the pandemic, the company reported 326 million loans, 20 % increase over the previous year.

OverDrive officials said that “focusing on equal access to books for all” also helped boost library lending in 2021, and helped produce a “great year” for “book sales and profits for authors and publishers who supply libraries with digital books.” Among the other notable statements released today:

  • 60% of our readers accessed their borrowed digital library through the popular Libby app from OverDrive.
  • School circulation of digital books with Student reading surah app by 65%.
  • Public Library digital collections allowed 4.7 million books to be borrowed by students for self-selected reading on the Sora app, an increase of 117%.
  • 400 third-party apps, websites, and service providers have integrated OverDrive services, satisfying more than 15 billion API calls for nearly 22,000 libraries.

Top OverDrive titles of 2021

The most popular e-books borrowed from libraries in 2021:

  1. four winds Written by Kristen Hanna (St. Martin Publishing Group, St. Martin’s Press)
  2. midnight library By Matt Haig (Penguin Publishing Group, Viking)
  3. vanishing half Written by Brett Bennett (Penguin Publishing Group, Riverhead Books)
  4. guest list By Lucy Foley (HarperCollins, William Morrow Paperbacks)
  5. Bedouin By Jessica Broder (W.W. Norton & Company)

Most popular audiobooks loaned from libraries in 2021:

  1. Promised Land Written by Barack Obama (Penguin Random House Audio)
  2. Where Cordads sings By Delia Owens (Penguin Random House Audio)
  3. cold sadness By Brenda Chapman (Dondorn)
  4. four winds by Kristen Hannah (Macmillan Audio)
  5. Greenlights by Matthew McConaughey (Penguin Random House Audio)

Most popular magazines borrowed from libraries in 2021:

  1. us weekly (A360 Media, LLC.
  2. The Economist (The Economist, Ltd.)
  3. New Yorker (Condé Nast USA)
  4. Hello! (Hello! Limited)
  5. HGTV Magazine (hurst)

The most important digital books borrowed from libraries by type:

The full version is available here.


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