Library Ebooks Still a Mystery to Most

Jul 13, 2012

A recent Pew Research survey says that most readers don't know that they may be able to borrow ebooks from their local library. Pew says 12% of American ebook readers from 16-years-old and up, have borrowed an ebook from a library in the last year. Results show that ebook borrowers also tend to read more books than non-borrowers.

Still, most seem to be in the dark about ebook lending. According to Pew:

"But most in the broader public, not just e-book readers, are generally not aware they can borrow e-books from libraries. We asked all those ages 16 and older if they know whether they can borrow e-books from their library and 62% said they did not know if their library offered that service. Some 22% say they know that their library does lend out e-books, and 14% say they know their library does not lend out e-books."

More than 75% of the nations libraries lend ebooks, says Pew, so it's surprising that patrons would not know their local libraries offer the service. Many of those who do borrow ebooks, say their libraries have a a good selection (32%); 18% say they havea very good selction and 16% say it's excellent. On the flip side, 23% complain about a fair selection and 4% say they have a poor selection. Another common complaint was the dreaded wait-list.


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A couple of weeks ago, an older relative of mine mentioned that he'd heard on the radio that a publishing company announced a deal to lend ebooks through libraries. I said, "Well, there are quite a few libraries already lending ebooks right now." He looked confused and said, "No, the radio said this was a new thing." He couldn't/wouldn't believe it was already happening. I have no idea when the last time he actually went to a library was but I was still surprised he didn't already know that library ebooks were an actual thing.