January 16, 2021
The pandemic forced public libraries to close their doors, but they remained resilient in supporting...

The pandemic forced public libraries to close their doors, but they remained resilient in supporting local communities by moving important programs, tools, and resources online as much as possible. The pandemic also renewed (pardon the pun) people’s relationships with the library, encouraging readers and listeners to download digital services like OverDrive and its digital reading app, Libby, for free access to thousands of ebooks and audiobooks, including new releases and bestsellers.

“Librarians and educators pivoted to provide ebooks and audiobooks to all readers when their doors closed and school became remote,” Steve Potash, founder and CEO of OverDrive, tells Fortune.

At first, juvenile and young adult titles were a priority, Potash explains, followed by readers “seeking to comfort, educate, and delight themselves during their shelter-in-place periods.” He notes this led to a surge in demand for cookbooks, gardening, and other hobbies and crafts.

“Millions of seniors and other first-time users discovered and downloaded their first ebook and audiobook as a result—and they are now trained and sticking with the digital book option, thanks to the investments made by librarians and educators,” Potash says.

For business readers, here’s a rundown of the most downloaded ebooks and audiobooks at public libraries with access to OverDrive in 2020.

Ebooks

  1. Bad Blood: Secrets and Lies in a Silicon Valley Startup by John Carreyrou
  2. The Ride of a Lifetime: Lessons Learned From 15 Years as CEO of the Walt Disney Company by Robert Iger
  3. Start With Why: How Great Leaders Inspire Everyone to Take Action by Simon Sinek
  4. Never Split the Difference: Negotiating as If Your Life Depended on It by Chris Voss with Tahl Raz
  5. The Power of Habit: Why We Do What We Do in Life and Business by Charles Duhigg
  6. Essentialism: The Disciplined Pursuit of Less by Greg McKeown
  7. The Bullet Journal Method: Track the Past, Order the Present, Design the Future by Ryder Carroll
  8. The Intelligent Investor, Revised Edition by Benjamin Graham
  9. Principles: Life and Work by Ray Dalio
  10. The 4-Hour Workweek: Escape 9–5, Live Anywhere, and Join the New Rich by Timothy Ferriss

Audiobooks

  1. Bad Blood: Secrets and Lies in a Silicon Valley Startup by John Carreyrou
  2. The 4-Hour Workweek: Escape 9–5, Live Anywhere, and Join the New Rich by Timothy Ferriss
  3. Never Split the Difference: Negotiating as If Your Life Depended on It by Chris Voss with Tahl Raz
  4. Deep Work: Rules for Focused Success in a Distracted World by Cal Newport
  5. Principles: Life and Work by Ray Dalio
  6. Essentialism: The Disciplined Pursuit of Less by Greg McKeown
  7. Outliers: The Story of Success by Malcolm Gladwell
  8. Start With Why: How Great Leaders Inspire Everyone to Take Action by Simon Sinek
  9. Good to Great and the Social Sectors by Jim Collins
  10. The Infinite Game by Simon Sinek

More must-read lifestyle and entertainment coverage from Fortune:

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