OverDrive Max is the fastest growing of OverDrive’s six access models due to its increased flexibility and affordability.

HarperCollins has added 150 high demand digital titles to OverDrive Max, taking the total OverDrive Max catalogue to over 400,000 titles, in yet another example of how ebooks are defying the preferred industry narrative that the ebook format is out of fashion.

Per the OverDrive press release, “OverDrive Max was specifically designed to provide greater flexibility and value for library budgets to meet the increased demand for digital books. It is quickly becoming the fastest growing sales model for authors and publishers seeking to maximize their revenue from institutional buyers.”

With OverDrive Max a library or library consortium can “purchase bundles of up to 100 loans for specific titles for lending with flexibility for concurrent use based on patron demand with no expiration date, often at the lowest cost.”

Alexis Petric-Black, Director of Publisher Account Services at OverDrive, said: “OverDrive Max is becoming the preferred method for libraries’ digital book purchasing. As a result, publishers enabling OverDrive Max increase sales opportunities.

OverDrive Max is the fastest growing of OverDrive’s six access models due to its increased flexibility and affordability. This access model is presented as an option alongside the One Copy One User option in OverDrive’s Marketplace.

From the press release: Elizabeth Taylor, librarian at Pima County Public Library in Arizona, said: “I love this model not only for its cost-efficiency and its ability to eliminate long wait lists, but also because it’s great for book clubs and students of all ages.”

In 2022 OverDrive clocked 331 million ebook downloads, 191 million audiobook downloads and 33 million comics and graphic novels downloads, and that number would have been much higher if would-be readers were not on hold waiting for the books they wanted to become available.

Print books of course take up space and are expensive to buy and replace, and so there are naturally a limited number of copies available. For digital, the waiting lists are more to do with publisher pricing and lending policies.

OverDrive doesn’t always share its waiting list numbers, but it did in its 2022 report for the year 2021, and no fewer than 187 million people were on hold that year. In that year OverDrive clocked 138 million audiobook downloads and 289 million ebook downloads.

Here’s a thought: if those people on wait had been allowed access to those books, the total digital downloads figure for 2020 would have been 614 million. Only OverDrive knows how big the hold list was this year, but safe to say it was massive as publishers continue to place constraints on digital library access to ebooks and audio.