I was searching about yesterday looking for some information about the DRM system that Overdrive uses to lock up ebooks it makes available to public libraries (including Prince Edward Island’s Library Service, which is a customer).
One of my searches was “how to share Overdrive books” and this search led me to an intriguing-looking slide in a PowerPoint presentation for client libraries:
Anything labelled “please do not share this email with patrons” is prone to make my eyes perk up, and so I read the PowerPoint presentation from beginning to end. It turns out to be a good overview of Overdrive’s offerings for libraries (which, regular readers may recall, I likened to “crazytown” on national radio).
The next slide in the deck was even more interesting than the eyes-only email address; it concerned the reports available to client libraries:
“Cool!”, I thought to myself as I fired off an email to the always-helpful librarians at the Provincial Library’s Fortress of Solitude in remotest Morell. I quickly got a reply. Here’s what I learned:
- Separate and apart from Overdrive, currently there are 48,751 adult library cards and 17,876 children’s library cards for a grand total of 66,627 library cards in service. (By my own calculation, that’s almost exactly 50% of the adult population holding a library card).
- The Provincial Library Service subscribes to Overdrive’s “One Copy/One User” product – this is the aspect of the service that meant that while I had “checked out” a Teach Yourself Norwegian book nobody else in PEI could borrow it.
- The Library Service has 5,246 digital items in its collection (read “licenses 5,246 items for one-at-at-time circulation to PEI patrons”): 1,309 audiobooks, 3,931 ebooks and 6 music items.
- Since May 2011, 3,847 patrons have checked out a digital title (about 8% of total patrons if you only count adults, 6% if you include children).
- Those patrons have “borrowed” a total of 9,581 audiobooks and 42,268 ebooks for a total of 51,849 digital items borrowed.
- Today (August 8, 2013) there are 546 patrons with digital items checked out and 587 items on hold.
- The PEI-branded Overdrive.com site has been receiving an average of about 5,000 unique “active visits” (not sure what distinguishes that from “unique visits”) a month over the last three months (May to July of 2013).
Here’s what the Overdrive.com registrations-per-month look like (patrons must register with Overdrive.com to “check out” items):
(That chart was made with the really-easy-to-use Chartbulder, which I recommend for all your spur-of-the-moment chart-making needs).
So, it would seem, ebooks and audiobooks are popular with we Islanders; what we need to work on next is making the experience of borrowing digital content less 1955-like.