OverDrive announced the second book of its Big Library Read program recently.

This time, the e-book lending company is going with a children’s book—Jane O’Connor’s “Fancy Nancy: Nancy Clancy, Super Sleuthwhich is published through HarperCollins. The book will be available through the OverDrive app with participating libraries from Sept. 16-30. There will be no holds during that period, which means thousands of people can simultaneously read the book without waiting.

OverDrive debuted the program in May with “The Four Corners of the Sky” by Michael Malone, through Sourcebooks.

The program’s first attempt was a success from nearly every standpoint—according to David Burleigh, OverDrive’s director of marketing.

“The Big Library Read was an idea created to demonstrate the power of e-lending in libraries,” Burleigh said. “We worked with a very forward-thinking publisher with Sourcebook’s Dominique Raccah. We used a well-reviewed book, but not a big blockbuster. It was nice to use for our first test.”

OverDrive offered “The Four Corners of the Sky” for 18 days at the end of May through about one-third of its libraries. Some did not participate due to the short notice of the program. Still, the book was downloaded 44,000 times during the event, compared to just 211 times in the previous 18 days—and that number includes all of Malone’s titles.

The buzz surrounding Malone continued even after program ended.

“We continue to see higher checkout numbers since then,” Burleigh said. “We raised the profile of the author and profile of the title. But the bigger story I think is about the impact on sales. You put the same book on lot of different library screens and increased circulation. It had a positive impact on his backlist as well.”

While Burleigh did not give specific sales numbers on Malone’s book, he did say officials at Sourcebooks were happy with the results. Not only was the feature title bought, but so where all of Malone’s books.

Also, “The Four Corners of the Sky” saw its Amazon ranking jump from about 67,000 to its peak at 10,439 on June 11—10 days after the program had ended.

“The impact on the sales was pretty startling,” Burleigh said.

OverDrive decided to go with a children’s book in its second promotion, to test the impact it might have on younger readers.

“We are doing this and trying to learn, and build the case and story for e-lending,” Burleigh added. “We want to try to build and help libraries’ new users and build excitement and buzz around the e-library. It’s the next generation of readers. Every business is looking for the next generation of consumers and libraries are interested in developing new readers.”

There is no structure in place for how many books OverDrive would like to promote in a calendar year, Burleigh said. The company right now is still compiling data and learning through every promotion. It also depends on the publishers and those willing to work with OverDrive.


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