Bringing Book Clubs Online: Resources for Digital Book Clubs

American Libraries, September-October 2019 | Go to article overview

Bringing Book Clubs Online: Resources for Digital Book Clubs


Libraries support countless book clubs, both formal and informal. With increasing digital engagement, digital lending models for ebooks and audiobooks offer opportunities for book clubs to expand, and online platforms can bring together community members who couldn't otherwise participate. These three companies offer resources and products to help libraries engage readers with digital book clubs.

OverDrive Digital Book Clubs

Libraries that have digital collections from OverDrive are automatically part of the company's global ebook club, the Big Library Read, which makes select titles available for unlimited checkouts for a limited period three times a year. In addition to this large-scale reading program, the company also provides support for community-wide and regional book clubs like "One Book, One City."

After a library provides information on its planned programming, including program dates, budget, and estimated number of checkouts, OverDrive will negotiate with publishers to secure discounted, short-term digital lending rights for the chosen title. Depending on the library's needs, the terms may be for simultaneous use for a set period, with pricing based on population, or bulk discounts on single-user licenses. Some publishers may require a minimum order for discounts to apply. Publishers that have recently provided rights to bestselling and award-winning titles include Penguin Random House, HarperCollins, and W. W. Norton.

The book club title will be displayed prominently on the library's OverDrive digital collection homepage along with custom messaging about the program during the book club's run. The company also curates a collection of read-alike titles. OverDrive makes marketing templates available and can create customized print and online marketing materials to promote some programs.

Patrons can access book club titles through the Libby app or download them to an e-reader or other device. Titles expire automatically once the book club has concluded.

Digital book club support is free to libraries that already have an OverDrive account. …

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