This summer Hoopla, the digital arm of Midwest Tape, which provides digital media lending services for more than 1,600 U.S. and Canadian public libraries, is marking its fifth year since startup. As the company continues to evolve as a digital retail channel, publishers are seeing the benefits of connecting with public library patrons, says owner and cofounder Jeff Jankowski.

One piece that works well for many publishers is Hoopla’s “lend-first” model, which gives libraries immediate access to a catalogue of digital content (which includes e-books, audiobooks, comics, movies, TV titles, and music albums). Hoopla charges libraries for each loan requested by the library’s patrons.

As on the retail side, audiobooks have grown increasingly popular for Hoopla’s library borrowers, with 92% of the entire audiobook catalogue generating sales. Of those, 82% were backlist. Year-over-year audiobook loans rose 79%, while e-book loans increased 129% in 2017. Over 70% of Hoopla users borrow multiple formats.

For HarperCollins Publishing, which signed with Hoopla last year, the partnership has worked out well. “Hoopla digital has established itself as a highly valued distributor of HarperCollins audiobooks and e-books to the library channel. Hoopla’s platform and its pay-per-use model have proven effective at driving discovery and engagement of our backlist,” says Adam Silverman, senior director of new business development at HarperCollins Publishing. “We remain thrilled to offer public library patrons easy access to our award-winning authors via the Hoopla digital platform.”

Hoopla is sharing a booth (2539) with Midwest Tape.