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Offering Express eBooks

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Offering Express eBooks

Ottawa Public Library, Ontario

2018 | Top Innovator

Innovation Synopsis

In 2017 Ottawa Public Library launched an eBook platform dedicated to bestselling titles for one week loans and no holds. It intentionally mirrored our physical Express (rapid reads) collection to improve the availability of high demand eBook titles for a higher return on investment with a fixed budget.


Price and licensing models of eBooks are significant challenges for libraries. Looking at innovative ways libraries can improve access to eBooks and have fiscal sustainability is critical for long-term success. OPL negotiated a second eBook platform to offer our customers Express eBooks of sought-after titles in a faster timeframe, complementing our core collection with traditional holds and loan periods. A second vendor in the mix has fostered healthy competition for better choices.

Key Elements of Innovation

No single eBook vendor currently offers the ability to offer more than one loan model per format. By introducing a second platform we were able to overcome this barrier. We worked with the vendor to tweak the display and remove the holds button; we used different catalogue records to distinguish regular eBooks from Express ones and we marketed to ensure that our existing eBook customers were aware of the new Express collection.

Achieved Outcomes

After our first year, Express eBooks accounted for six percent of our eBook checkouts and continues to grow with a higher turnover. The checkouts per copy have doubled on many popular Express eBooks for an improved return on investment on most of the eBook licensing models. Customers are happy with the addition of Express eBooks because it offers them more immediate access to the most sought-after current eBook titles.