January 23, 2012

Amazon’s library marketing not to be taken lightly


There were some interesting stats about eBook distribution coming out of ALA Midwinter in Dallas this year, not the least of which is OverDrive’s statistics concerning the inclusion of the Kindle in their list of compatible ereaders. Library Journal has collected a lot of these eye-opening stats:

OverDrive released some impressive 2011 statistics earlier this week. Clearly, anyone dealing with ebooks is having a very busy year and the numbers show it. But OverDrive did share some additional numbers with LJ on Friday after the opening of the exhibition hall at the ALA Midwinter Conference in Dallas.

The most interesting was the growth in the size of OverDrive’s network of libraries. Although now numbering 18,000 libraries worldwide in 21 countries, in the U.S. the number stands at 15,000 libraries (including schools). The interesting part is that last April this number was 11,000.

April was also the month Amazon announced that the Kindle would be integrated into library lending via OverDrive.

Add in this bit of information concerning the total increase in eBook distribution and you have an interesting picture being painted. The Digital Shift has more about this shift from ALA Midwinter:

The company, which is promising more details at the American Library Association’s Midwinter Conference which begins Friday in Dallas, said that its library website traffic doubled to 1.6 billion page views, a 130 percent increase over 2010. In addition, 35 million digital titles were checked out in 2011 (up from 15 million in 2010), and the number of users who have installed the company’s media console has jumped to 11 million, an increase of 84 percent.

The picture being painted is about how large Amazon’s sphere of influence has become. The internet retail giant now holds important sway in areas of the book market that Amazon had previously seemed at odds with. From Nancy Pearl to OverDrive, it looks like Amazon is making a big push to make inroads with the library community. You have to wonder when a distribution arm, perhaps in direct competition with OverDrive, might be rearing its head.

Paul Oliver is the marketing manager of Melville House. Previously he was co-owner of Wolfgang Books in Philadelphia.