I don’t know about you, but whenever September comes around, I’m reminded of the library. Maybe it has to do with my years at school: from preschool to post-secondary, the return to classes in September (in Canada, at least) was synonymous with more frequent trips to the library.

For those who aren’t aware, KWL partners with OverDrive to make your eBooks available to libraries worldwide. By opting your titles into OverDrive, you can access another revenue stream via library sales!

Check out if libraries in your area are using OverDrive here.

Get a comprehensive OverDrive overview here!

Read on for more info about OverDrive, and how your books can benefit from being sold to libraries!

From OverDrive account manager Lateefah Zawistowski:

“The library is such an underutilized discovery tool for authors, I feel like when authors are thinking about their marketing and, you know, maybe doing some social media tours or other things, they don’t think about the library as much.

But what a librarian does for your book is the same thing that like a local bookseller will do for your book, right? Like, somebody walks in, they’re looking for a book to read, so they match the right reader with the right book. And you could find a new fan just by having somebody ask their local librarian, “What’s new?” Or “Can you suggest a book for me?” So the library is a great place or discovery to find new readers and to market your book, basically.”

Listen to the whole episode here.


OverDrive is a great way to push your backlist titles while still supporting your new releases in a much more competitive market.

Opting in to sales on OverDrive can help you to generate revenue from books that have seen drops in sales as time goes on – libraries and librarians aren’t always as concerned with the date of publication and what’s in the spotlight as readers! Libraries value the entirety of an author’s catalogue and are willing to consider purchasing more from a backlist than a regular reader might, as their interest often skews toward the new and trending titles.

Likewise, with the BookTok community on TikTok driving backlist sales, many libraries are looking to expand their options and ensure that their patrons have access to an author’s entire list.

Not a well-known author (yet)? OverDrive offers libraries the option to purchase CPC (cost per circulation) copies at 10% of the library price. These purchases are often based on patron requests, and if more requests come in, librarians will often purchase the book at full library price, which will net you 50% of the cost!

Listen to former KWL guests Jill and Joe of the Professional Book Nerds podcast talk about OverDrive in these great episodes:

Ep. #400 – Steve Potash, Rakuten OverDrive Founder and CEO (Part 1)

It is not an understatement to say that Steve Potash is the reason we are able to do this podcast. Steve is the founder and CEO of Rakuten OverDrive, as well as one of the main reasons digital library reading is such a prevalent part of our lives.

Ep. #234 – Jill’s OverDrive Tips & Tricks

Today on the podcast, Jill offers some of her favorite tips & tricks for getting the most out of your library’s OverDrive collection! Say Hello! Find us on Instagram and Twitter at @ProBookNerds.


How to Opt-in to OverDrive

Opting in is simple: go to your eBook library on your KWL dashboard, and select the book you want to opt into OverDrive.

Navigate to the “Rights and Distribution” tab and scroll down to where it says “Available for Libraries in OverDrive.”

Select the toggle to enable OverDrive opt-in, and continue completing the rest of the fields regarding pricing.

Hit Save and Continue, and you’re done!

Pricing and Earnings for OverDrive

We recommend pricing your library copies around the same retail value as a mass market paperback, but ultimately, pricing is set by the author.

As for earnings, here’s a summary from our previous overview:

Thanks to our close partnership with OverDrive, our authors get paid as though they are working directly with OverDrive rather than through a third party or aggregator. This means you will earn 50% of your library price, and you don’t have to pay an aggregator fee.

You’ll be able to see your OverDrive sales in your monthly sales report –– just expand the “Title” cell to see them. You will also be able to see the library branch name, area, and country each title was purchased for and in!

Keep in mind that libraries can purchase eBooks for OCOU distribution or CPC distribution:

OCOU is “One Copy, One User” distribution: the library purchases 1 or more copies of the same eBook at library cost, and each copy can be in the digital hands of one user at a time.

CPC is “Cost Per Circulation” distribution: the library purchases a CPC copy, and the author is paid 10% of the total library cost each time a book is checked out by a user. These copies can be in multiple “hands” at once.

Review this press release from Kobo on CPC distribution!

“We are delighted to be able to introduce a new way for Kobo Writing Life authors to reach library readers. We believe in allowing authors to reach readers, however they’d like to read. This exciting new opportunity helps KWL authors further diversify their publishing portfolio and makes it easy for librarians to find and take a chance on new, talented authors.” – Tara Cremin

The takeaway

The KWL team highly recommends opting your catalogue into OverDrive. If you have readers who are active library patrons, or new readers who want to “try before they buy,” this program is an excellent way to accommodate their reading styles. Don’t miss out on drawing new readers, too – many people use their local library as a way to discover new authors and try out new genres and subject matter.

Do you use OverDrive? Do your readers use OverDrive? Tells us about your library experiences!

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