The CITE, a blog published by the National Association of College Stores, takes a look at the intersection of education and technology, highlighting issues that range from course materials to learning delivery to the student experience. Comments, discussion, feedback, and ideas are welcome.

Friday, December 4, 2015

E-Book Borrowing Outpaces Borrowers

The number of e-books borrowed from public libraries may be growing at a fast clip, but the number of library patrons doing the borrowing may not.

According to a survey conducted last summer by e-book provider OverDrive in conjunction with the American Library Association, some 30 million e-books were loaned to users through public libraries in the second quarter of 2015, representing a 19% jump over the same period in 2014.

However, a new survey by the Book Industry Study Group (BISG) revealed that just 25% of library patrons had downloaded an e-book from the library in the previous 12 months, according to a report in Publishers Weekly. That indicates a minority of library users are generating most of the e-book traffic.

In fact, the patrons who got one or more e-books from their local library would have liked to obtain more, but were often stymied. They said the titles they wanted weren’t available in e-book formats, were on an e-book waiting list, or could only be borrowed for a period too short to complete the book.

In the BISG survey, 44% of library patrons reported reading an e-book in the previous year, far more than had borrowed an e-book. That jibes with librarians’ contention that there is pent-up demand for e-book loans, provided they have popular titles on hand.

And it’s not the mobile device-toting younger generation that’s borrowing e-books. In OverDrive’s survey, only 5% of respondents were less than 25 years of age while 52% were more than 54 years old.

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