Friday, June 22, 2012

Pew Internet report on libraries and eBooks

The Pew Internet Project released a report earlier today titled "Libraries, patrons and e-books." The study focuses on public libraries. The finding that's getting the most attention is that a majority of library patrons don't know whether or not their library lends eBooks. Here's a summary of some of the findings:
  • 12% of Americans ages 16 and over who read eBooks borrowed at least one eBook from a public library in the last year. 
  • eBook borrowers read an average of 29 books a year vs. 23 books read by non-eBook borrowers. 
  • The median number of books read in the last year was 20 for eBook borrowers vs. 12 by non-borrowers. 
A majority of library patrons don't know if their library lends out eBooks:
  • 58% of library card holders don't know if their library loans out eBooks. 
  • 55% of those who said that the library is "very important" to them don't know if their library lends eBooks. 
  • 53% of tablet users don't know if their library lends eBooks. 
  • 48% of hardware eReader (e.g. Kindle, Nook) users don't know if their library loans out eBooks. 
  • 47% of all respondents who read an eBook in the last year don't know if their library loans out eBooks. 
Patrons who borrow eBooks from their public library are generally satisfied with the selection, but they've had problems:
  • Patrons rated the eBook selection at their public library as: 
    • Excellent: 16% 
    • Very Good: 18% 
    • Good: 32% 
    • Fair: 23% 
    • Poor: 4% 
  • 56% of eBook borrowers had tried to borrow a specific title that their library didn't carry. 
  • 52% had at some point tried to borrow an eBook but couldn't because there was a waiting list. 
  • 18% had found an eBook that they wanted to borrow, but it wasn't available in the format that they needed. 
Purchasing vs. borrowing behavior:
  • 78% of respondents ages 16 and older said that they had read at least one book in the last year. Of these respondents: 
    • 48% had bought their most recent book. 
    • 24% borrowed the book from a friend. 
    • 14% borrowed it from a library. 
    • 13% got it another way. 
  • Among library card holders: 
    • 47% had bought their most recent book. 
    • 20% borrowed it from a friend. 
    • 20% borrowed it from a library. 
    • 12% got it another way. 
  • 41% of patrons who borrow eBooks from libraries purchased their most recent eBook. 
  • 47% of eBook borrowers look for eBooks first from online bookstores and websites, and 41% look for them from their public library first. 
Recommendation sources:
  • Across all respondents: 
    • 64% get book recommendations from family members, friends or co-workers. 
    • 28% get recommendations from online bookstores or other websites. 
    • 23% get recommendations from staffers in brick & mortar bookstores. 
    • 19% get recommendations from librarians or library websites. 
  • Among library eBook borrowers: 
    • 71% get recommendations from online bookstores and websites. 
    • 39% get recommendations from staffers in brick & mortar bookstores. 
    • 42% get recommendations from librarians or library websites. 
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