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Simon & Schuster first got involved in distributing their vast collection of eBooks to libraries earlier this year. In order for libraries to carry their titles the publisher was basically forcing 3M, Baker & Taylor and Overdrive to implement a buy it now button as part of the arrangement. Many libraries and consortium’s did not want to sell eBooks on their websites and resisted carrying any titles by S&S. Today, the publisher relaxed their restrictions.

“From the beginning, the ALA has advocated for the broadest and most affordable library access to e-titles, as well as licensing terms that give libraries flexibility to best meet their community needs,” said ALA President Courtney Young. “We appreciate that Simon & Schuster is modifying its library ebook program to provide libraries a choice in whether or not to participate in Buy It Now. Providing options like these allow libraries to enable digital access while also respecting local norms or policies.”

“This change also speaks to the importance of sustaining conversations among librarians, publishers, distributors and authors to continue advancing our shared goals of connecting writers and readers,” Young added. “We are still in the early days of this digital publishing revolution, and we hope we can co-create solutions that expand access, increase readership and improve exposure for diverse and emerging voices,” said DCWG Co-Chairs Carolyn Anthony and Erika Linke. “Many challenges remain including high prices, privacy concerns, and other terms under which ebooks are offered to libraries. We are continuing our discussions with publishers.”

I think S&S  have relaxed their policies because libraries simply don’t want to be getting themselves involved with retail. Libraries exist because of public funds and forcing them to become a bookstore in order to carry specific titles is tantamount to extortion.

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Libraries all over North America have been embracing digital and over 90% have some sort of eBook collection. Not only do they have eBooks but audiobooks, digital magazines and newspapers. Many libraries deal with more than one company for their digital content, which makes the lives of patrons a little more difficult because they have to install many different apps on their smartphones and tablets to get the job done. What if things were simpler?

The Queens Library system in New York has developed their own proprietary app for Android and iOS. It offers library patrons seamless search and access to audiobooks from Acoustik, magazines from Zinio, and eBooks from OverDrive and Baker & Taylor’s Axis 360 platform. Other features include location, mapping, and contact information for each branch, a catalog search, an ISBN barcode scanning function that enables users to scan books in retail environments to see if titles are available at their library, an events schedule that enables registration, an “ask a librarian” live chat service, a contact information form, and even a text-to-donate option.

Since the apps launch in July they had 5,400 installations on iOS and more than 3,300 on Android. This has prompted Queens to consider developing apps for other libraries, leveraging their 50 person IT team to make digital content more accessible.

Queens is doing an amazing thing. Instead of forcing their patrons to install the Overdrive Media Console, Zinio, Acoustic and the Axis360 app, they have one app to rule them all. This dramatically simplifies the browsing and consuming of digital content, which is tremendously intuitive.

It remains to be seen if Queens can market this to other libraries, but the core concept is sound. All they are doing is simply using the public API tools these vendors make available and presenting it in a neat little package. I am sure major libraries all over North America could make something like this if they had the time and inclination.

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A few years ago there was a dream where thousands of libraries all over the US and Canada would be able to loan out e-readers to patrons, in addition to eBooks. The stark truth is a rude awakening, as only 32% of libraries have one in circulation, which is a decrease of 7% last year.

Library Journal in conjunction with Freading issued their annual  Ebook Usage in U.S. Public Libraries report. They spoke to 538 libraries all over the US and apparently tablets and smartphones are replacing e-readers. 13% of respondents said that their library had plans to acquire more dedicated e-readers, and 17% said that they planned to replace broken device.  55% said they have no plans to invest in dedicated readers anymore.

2014 was the first year ever that tablets truly overtook dedicated e-readers as the device of choice to borrow audiobooks, newspapers, magazines and eBooks. 84% of respondents said that their library’s patrons were using tablets such as the Apple iPad, Kindle Fire, or Google Nexus tablets, while 78% said that patrons were using dedicated e-reader devices such as  the Kindle,  Kobo or Nook. This compares to 66% who said patrons were using tablets for eBooks in 2012, and 90% who said patrons were using dedicated e-readers.

“Tablets will likely continue to take over, as they can access a wider variety of content, from ebooks to streaming video, to music, to audiobooks, to the Internet in general,” the report notes. “The killer app for the earliest dedicated ereaders like the Kindle was the reflective display which was ‘as easy to read as paper.’ Well, these days, people are more used to reading on screens than on paper, and backlit screens have improved so that older eyes can read even smartphone screens with minimal squinting.”

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If you are passing through the San Antonio International Airport you can now borrow eBooks for free. Two Digital Library kiosks have been installed by the Friends of the San Antonio Public Library at a cost of $26,000.

The San Antonio Public Library has introduced a new innovative new feature into the kiosks that will allow out-of-town travelers to get a temporary library SAPL card that they can use right in the airport. The cards are good for 24 hours and have a limit of three items that can be checked out for seven days.

The kiosks are primarily used as a rapid charging station but also allow you to gain a library card. Once you attain a temporary card, you can use it to log onto the libraries main website to  borrow audiobooks, eBooks, music or videos.

I really like this concept. The entire notion of a free library card that expires after three days of use, but allows a traveler to borrow media for a week is really excellent. I hope this idea catches on, it serves as a solid introduction to the library system and hopefully gets the traveler to use their own local libraries digital services when they get home.

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Baker and Taylor has just expanded into New Zealand, giving public libraries the ability to loan out eBooks and audiobooks. The first libraries to offer digital content will be in Wellington City.

In order to expand into NZ, B&T needed to leverage their Australian subsidiary James Bennett. This is similar to Overdrive using Softlink as a partner in Australia, except they don’t actually own the company.

The agreement between Baker & Taylor/James Bennett and Wellington City Council offers all New Zealand public libraries an opportunity to sign onto a Participating Agency Agreement (PAA) and receive the terms and services outlined in the contract. Participating public libraries will have access to a wide range of areas in which Baker & Taylor/James Bennett have developed industry-leading expertise and technology, including collection development, ordering and procurement services and customized library solutions/technical services.

Working in partnership with Baker & Taylor/James Bennett also ensures that New Zealand libraries can quickly and easily receive all major titles from New Zealand, Australia and the United Kingdom through James Bennett’s warehouse in Sydney, as well as U.S. titles through Baker & Taylor’s American operations.

Baker and Taylor is the last major library to have a presence in New Zealand. Overdrive launched there in 2011 and 3M Cloud Library entered the market in 2013.

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Barnes and Noble has quietly been building a large catalog of digital newspapers and magazines for their Nook line of e-readers and tablets. In order to glean more market share, the largest bookseller in the US has just partnered with Overdrive to make available content from the Nook Newsstand to libraries.

NOOK Newsstand features the largest digital collection of the top 100 bestselling U.S. magazines, available for both digital subscriptions and single copy sales, and a vast collection of newspapers and magazines from around the world. A huge selection of that content will be available for readers to check out for free from their local library. The new partnership between OverDrive and NOOK Newsstand will enable readers to access popular magazines and newspapers in the same manner, and on the same website, as they discover and borrow OverDrive eBooks, audiobooks and streaming video. Libraries will be able to purchase concurrent access to all selected publications.

Library patrons can check out these digital magazines and newspapers with a valid library card and read them through their NOOK account via a NOOK tablet device or Free NOOK Reading App available for a multitude of smartphones and tablets. Customers who download NOOK Newsstand content through their local library always have access to the free in-store support and expertise provided by the booksellers at Barnes & Noble’s more than 650 bookstores across the U.S.

“NOOK Newsstand is one of the leading providers of digital magazines and newspapers and this new partnership with OverDrive is another example of our commitment to delivering great content to all readers,” said Jonathan Shar, Vice President and General Manager of Emerging Digital Content at NOOK Media LLC. “OverDrive is the foremost supplier of eBooks to libraries and we are thrilled to partner with them to offer library patrons the opportunity to access our award-winning content and reading technology.”

“The new digital service for periodicals will provide readers the ability to read digital magazines and newspapers with a best-in-class user experience,” said David Burleigh, Director of Marketing & Communication at OverDrive. “Your library card, a NOOK Account, and an Internet connection are all you need to enjoy visually stunning magazines and familiar newspaper layouts on almost all tablets and smartphones.”

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E Reader

The 3M Cloud Library has just inked a deal with Barnes and Noble to provide libraries with e-readers to loan out to their patrons. This will give patrons the ability to borrow eBooks from the library, even if they don’t own a device, they can simply borrow one.

“What’s unique about our program is that patrons can choose the titles they want to read, rather than borrowing a pre-loaded device with a title they may not be interested in,” said Tom Mercer, 3M Cloud Library Marketing Manager. “Our program gives patrons choice and allows libraries to extend digital reading to more people in their community.”

To use the device at participating libraries, patrons can browse the 3M Cloud Library collection and check out an eBook from any computer in the library, then visit the appropriate lending desk to have the title loaded onto a NOOK GlowLight. The devices are sold to libraries through local Barnes & Noble Community Relations Managers, who pre-load them with secure software. The software only allows the devices to be used through the library’s account, requires no personal information from the patron, and renders the device inoperable once titles are due.

“Our library has been lending several hundred NOOK GlowLight eReaders with 3M Cloud Library compatibility with great success,” said Laura Cole, Special Projects Coordinator at BiblioTech Library in Bexar County, Texas. “The devices are easy to use, reliable and lightweight. Best of all, our patrons love the GlowLight feature for nighttime reading.”'

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The highest court in Europe has ruled that libraries can digitize books without publishers permission and distribute them to dedicated reading terminals. The decision rests on exceptions built into the EU Copyright Directive for reproducing and communicating intellectual property. Specifically it says that publicly accessible libraries may make works available at “dedicated terminals… for the purpose of research or private study.”

Under the EU Copyright Directive, authors have the exclusive right to authorize or prohibit the reproduction and communication of their works. However, the directive also allows for exceptions or limitations to that right. 

“The right of libraries to communicate, by dedicated terminals, the works they hold in their collections would risk being rendered largely meaningless, or indeed ineffective, if they did not have an ancillary right to digitize the works in question,” the court said.

This is good news for library patrons that simply need to conduct research. However, libraries cannot permit visitors to use the terminals to print out the works or store them on a USB stick, by doing so, the visitor reproduces the work by making a new copy. This copying is not covered by the exception, particularly since the copies are made by individuals and not by the library itself. 

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The Future of libraries and publishing looks bright, as young people are reading as much or more than adults. A new report by Pew gives us some new data on the reading habits of adults and millennials.

The community and general media-use activities of younger adults are different from older adults. Those under age 30 are more likely to attend sporting events or concerts than older adults. They are also more likely to listen to music, the radio, or a podcast in some format on a daily or near-daily basis, and socialize with friends or family daily. Older adults, in turn, are more likely to visit museums or galleries, watch television or movies, or read the news on a daily basis.

As a group, Millennials are as likely as older adults to have used a library in the past 12 months, and more likely to have used a library website. Among those ages 16-29, 50% reported having used a library or bookmobile in the course of the past year in a September 2013 survey. Some 47% of those 30 and older had done so. Some 36% of younger Americans used a library website in that time frame, compared with 28% of those 30 and older. Despite their relatively high use of libraries, younger Americans are among the least likely to say that libraries are important. Some 19% of those under 30 say their library’s closing would have a major impact on them and their family, compared with 32% of older adults, and 51% of younger Americans say it would have a major impact on their community, compared with 67% of those 30 and older.

As with the general population, most younger Americans know where their local library is, but many say they are unfamiliar with all the services it may offer: 36% of Millennials say they know little or nothing about the local library’s services, compared with 29% of those 30 and older. At the same time, most younger Americans feel they can easily navigate their local library, and the vast majority would describe libraries as warm, welcoming places, though younger patrons are less likely to rate libraries’ physical conditions highly.

While previous reports from Pew Research have focused on younger Americans’ e-reading habits and library usage, this report will explore in their attitudes towards public libraries in greater detail, as well as the extent to which they value libraries’ roles in their communities. To better understand the context of younger Americans’ engagement with libraries, this report will also explore their broader attitudes about technology and the role of libraries in the digital age.

It is important to note that age is not the only factor in Americans’ engagement with public libraries, nor the most important. Our library engagement typology found that Americans’ relationships with public libraries are part of their broader information and social landscapes, as people who have extensive economic, social, technological, and cultural resources are also more likely to use and value libraries as part of those networks. Deeper connections with public libraries are also often associated with key life moments such as having a child, seeking a job, being a student, and going through a situation in which research and data can help inform a decision. As a result, the picture of younger Americans’ engagement with public libraries is complex and sometimes contradictory, as we examine their habits and attitudes at different life stages.

Even among those under 30, age groups differ in habits and attitudes

Though there are often many differences between Americans under 30 and older adults, younger age groups often have many differences that tie to their age and stage of adulthood.

Our surveys have found that older teens (ages 16-17) are more likely to read (particularly print books), more likely to read for work or school, and more likely to use the library for books and research than older age groups. They are the only age group more likely to borrow most of the books they read instead of purchasing them, and are also more likely to get reading recommendations at the library. Yet despite their closer relationship with public libraries, 16-17 year-olds are less likely to say they highly value public libraries, both as a personal and community resource. Older adults, by contrast, are more likely to place a high level of importance on libraries’ roles in their communities—even age groups that are less likely to use libraries overall, such as those ages 65 and older.

The members of the next oldest age group, college-aged adults (ages 18-24), are less likely to use public libraries than many other age groups, and are significantly less likely to have visited a library recently than in our previous survey: Some 56% of 18-24 year-olds said they had visited a library in the past year in November 2012, while just 46% said this in September 2013. They are more likely to purchase most of the books they read than borrow them, and are more likely to read the news regularly than 16-17 year-olds. In addition, like the next oldest age group, 25-29 year-olds, most of those in the college-aged cohort have lived in their current neighborhood five years or less.

Finally, many of the library habits and views of adults in their late twenties (ages 25-29) are often more similar to members of older age groups than their younger counterparts. They are less likely than college-aged adults to have read a book in the past year, but are more likely to keep up with the news. In addition, a large proportion (42%) are parents, a group with particularly high rates of library usage. Additionally, library users in this group are less likely than younger patrons to say their library use has decreased, and they are much more likely to say that various library services are very important to them and their family.

Younger Americans’ community activities, and media and technology landscapes

As a group, the library usage of younger Americans ages 16-29 fits into the larger context of their social activities and community engagement, as well as their broader media and technological environment. Those under age 30 are more likely to attend sporting events or concerts than older adults. They are also more likely to listen to music, the radio, or a podcast in some format on a daily or near-daily basis, and socialize with friends or family daily. Older adults, in turn, are more likely to visit museums or galleries, watch television or movies, or read the news on a daily basis.

About four in ten younger Americans (43%) reported reading a book—in any format—on a daily basis, a rate similar to older adults. Overall, 88% of Americans under 30 read a book in the past year, making them more likely to do so than older adults. Among younger Americans who did read at least one book, the median or typical number read in the past year was 10.

Younger Americans typically have higher rates of technology adoption than older adults, with 98% of those under 30 using the internet, and 90% of those internet users saying they using social networking sites. Over three-quarters (77%) of younger Americans have a smartphone, and many also have a tablet (38%) or e-reader (24%).

Respondents of all age groups generally agree that the internet makes it much easier to find information today than in the past, and most Americans feel that it’s easy to separate the good information from bad online. However, Americans under age 30 are actually a little more likely than older adults to say that there is a lot of useful, important information that is not available on the internet. They are also somewhat more likely to agree that people without internet access are at a real disadvantage because of all the information they might be missing.

Relationships with public libraries

Younger Americans are significantly more likely than older adults to have used a library in the past year, including using a library website. Overall, the percentage of all Americans who visited a library in person in the previous year fell from our 2012 to 2013 surveys, but the percentage who used a library website increased; the same is true for younger Americans. Few library users made use of a library website without also visiting a library in person in that time, however, so overall library usage rates did not increase:

Among those ages 16-29, the percentage who visited a public library in person in the previous year dropped from 58% in November 2012 to 50% in September 2013, with the largest drop occurring among 18-24 year-olds.

36% of younger Americans used a library website in the previous year, up from 28% in 2012, with the largest growth occurring among 16-17 year-olds (from 23% to 35%).

Despite their higher rates of library usage overall, younger Americans—particularly those under age 25—continue to be less likely than older adults to say that if their local public library closed it would have a major impact on either them and their family or on their community. Patrons ages 16-29 are also less likely than those ages 30 and older to say that several services are “very important” to them and their family, though those in their late twenties are more likely than younger age groups to strongly value most services.

As with the general population, most younger Americans know where their local library is, but many are unfamiliar with all the services they offer. However, most younger Americans feel they can easily navigate their local library, and the vast majority would describe libraries as warm, welcoming places, though younger patrons are less likely to rate libraries’ physical conditions highly.

Views about technology in libraries

Looking specifically at technology use at libraries, we found that as a group, patrons under age 30 are more likely than older patrons to use libraries’ computers and internet connections, but less likely to say these resources are very important to them and their families—particularly the youngest patrons, ages 16-17. Even though they are not as likely to say libraries are important, young adults do give libraries credit for embracing technology. Yet while younger age groups are often more ambivalent about the role an importance of libraries today than older adults, they do not necessarily believe that libraries have fallen behind in the technological sphere. Though respondents ages 16-29 were more likely than those ages 30 and older to agree that “public libraries have not done a good job keeping up with newer technologies” (43% vs. 31%), a majority of younger Americans (52%) disagreed with that statement overall.

About these surveys

This report covers the core findings from three major national surveys of Americans ages 16 and older. Many of the findings come from a survey of 6,224 Americans ages 16+ conducted in the fall of 2013. A full statement of the survey method and details can be found here: http://www.pewinternet.org/2014/03/13/methods-27/.

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Florida Polytechnic University has just opened their doors and instead of dusty bookshelves full of books, they are embracing digital. This marks the first time diligent young scholars can borrow eBooks on their Kindles, Nooks or iPads and there is not a tangible book in sight.

The inaugural class of 500 students will have access to over 135,000 eBooks and digital textbooks for the upcoming September semester. “Our on-campus library is entirely digital,” said director of libraries Kathryn Miller. “We have access to print books through the state university system’s interlibrary loan program. However, we strongly encourage our students to read and work with information digitally.”

The new university is primarily focused on science, technology, engineering and mathematics. Students are better prepared for lives in the technology sector by being able to read, absorb, manage and search digital documents and conduct digital research.

Florida is not the only intuition to embrace eBooks at the expense of physical books. Bexar County opened up the first all digital library a few months ago. Patrons can easily access over 10,000 eBooks and residents will be able read them on one of the 600 E-readers, 9 laptops or 40 tablets that are available for loan.

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The Publishing industry has firmly embraced making the vast majority of their titles to libraries in the United States. The big 5 have either initiated a major pilot project or have committed themselves to a broad rollout. With all of the news primarily focused on the US, what does the landscape look like for the rest of the world? A new research report by the International Federation of Library Associations and Institutions seeks to address some of these queries.

Australia and New Zealand

Public libraries in Australia and New Zealand report sustained and continuing growth in eBook provision and use. State of Victoria public libraries report 298,809 eBook downloads in 2011/12 and 497,045 downloads in 2012/13 (+66%) Users of the State Library of Western Australia downloaded 9,130 eBooks in January 2013 and 21,564 eBooks in January 2014 (+136%). The January 2014 loans constituted 1.4 loans per title available. Users of Brisbane City Libraries downloaded 4,212 eBooks in 2008 and 116,272 eBooks in 2012. New Zealand public libraries report 2012/13 holdings of 111,336 (growth of 1,762% in two years), downloads of 354,066 (growth of 1,968% in two years) and expenditure of $1,038,543 NZ[$900,868 US/€654,011] (growth of 363% in two years).

Canada

Five large urban public libraries in Canada with mature digital collections serving a combined population of 8,402,000 reported the following combined digital use statistics: Downloadable eBook circulation in 2013 was 2,871,514 downloads or 0.34 per capita. This is a 1,313.3% increase over 2010 downloads and a 60.9% increase over 2012 downloads. 139,023 downloadable eBook titles were in their collections (an increase of 526% over 2010) and 244,951 eBook “volumes” 1.8 “volumes” per title. In 2013 the average annual downloads per volume was 12. The libraries provide access to 37,369 downloadable audio titles.

In Quebec, 71 public libraries belong to BIBLIOPRESTO.CA. Library users downloaded 661,598 eBooks in 2012/13 and it is projected that downloads will double in the next 12 months. Individual library data is indicative of strong growth in eBook availability and use Montreal Public Library downloads grew from 9,559 in 2012 to 31,708 in 2013 (+232%) Quebec City Public Library downloads grew from 27,417 in 2012 to 69,951 in 2013 (+155%).

Europe

As is the case with the publishing sector, libraries in the European Union have been slower to adopt eBooks, especially in non-English speaking countries. eBook availability in EU libraries varies significantly from country to country depending upon factors such as the funding available for library purchasing, indigenous publishing practice, library governance structure and preferred licensing regimes.

Africa

The International Publishers Association estimates that 90% of overall publishing revenue in Africa is derived from education markets. It is not a surprise that the availability of eBooks from African libraries is limited largely to university collections with an emphasis on streamed scholarly publishing content originating outside the continent. The 2013 South African Book Fair had as its focus “The future of eBooks: the impact of the digital eBook phenomenon” and the comments from publishing executives solely dealt with the education market and the potential for acceptance of digital textbooks.

Asia

eBook data reported from Asian countries indicates wide variations in library availability and use. Apabi Chinese eBooks are published in Mainland China and its content emphasises more scholarly rather than leisure reading content.

Hong Kong public libraries report 186,497 eBook titles in their collections, 72,500 which are Apabi eBooks. The balance is made up of streamed bundle services including ebrary Academic Complete and EBSCOhost. The relatively low use of eBook collections (annual use of 1.1 per title) is attributed by library staff to the lack of leisure reading titles available and the confusing access requirements for the different databases.

A large majority of Japanese public libraries do not provide eBooks at this time. Korean public libraries report over 3 million eBook titles available and annual expenditure of 3.6 million US dollars (2012).
Singapore reports 3,062,002 eBook titles, circulation of 8,247,966 and annual expenditure of $1,268,857 US (all 2012). Taiwan public libraries report eBook title holdings of 255,278 (2012) and annual circulation of 562,482 (2013).

United States

According to Library Journal’s “2013 Report on E-Books in Public Libraries”, where 89% of US public libraries offer eBooks, collection size and circulation have increased: 45% increase in median number of e-books between 2012 (5,080) and 2013 (7,380) 145% circulation increase from 2011 to 2012 (with anticipated 2013 increase of +38.9%) These numbers reflect all points of access, including those directly licensed or purchased by an individual library and those available through a consortium. 91% of library eBooks are accessed one user at a time comprising: 70% downloaded copies, 21% web based access copies 9% are unlimited, simultaneous access.Public demand for eBooks in the US public libraries has held steady at 6:1 holds to copy eBook ratio (unchanged from 2011 and 2013).

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Macmillan started a limited US eBook pilot program for libraries at the beginning of 2013. The company only contributed titles at first from their Minotaur imprint to gauge market acceptance to their terms and conditions.  The publisher is very satisfied with the amount of capital they are gleaning their established relationships with 3M, Baker & Taylor and Overdrive.  This has prompted Macmillan to open up their entire catalog of 15,000 eBooks, including ones that just came out.

Macmillan is one of the those publishers that took ponderous steps to fully accept contributing their eBooks to libraries.  They originally started with around 1,000 titles from Minotaur Press and then in October 2013 contributed their vast backlist catalog.  This week the company has announced that they will also start selling their frontlist, which is a fancy way of saying any new book that comes out, even bestsellers.

All of the frontlist titles will be available for libraries in the United States to start purchasing in early August. It is important to note that each title is going to cost $60 each, which is well beyond the $9.99 cover price found on Amazon. Once the digital title is bought, it is only good for  52 loans or two years of library ownership.

Alison Lazarus, President, of Macmillan Sales comments: “Librarians have been asking for our frontlist titles for their collections. With more than a year of our current pilot behind us and a better sense of the market, we feel comfortable expanding our offering to our full catalog.”

Libraries are clamoring for the oportonity to offer best sellers for all of their patrons, but the terms and conditions of publishers leave something to be desired. Simon and Schuster mandates that in order for libraries to buy their eBooks, they have to offer a BUY IT NOW button on their website. Macmillan is forcing libraries to pay almost $50 more than the cover price found on Amazon, B&N or Kobo.

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Northern Ireland libraries have been loaning out eBooks since 2009. Patrons have recently been embracing the digital platform, as the digital collection improves.

When eBooks first became available at Northern Ireland Libraries in 2011, there was only 363 eBooks to loan out. In 2014, the collection has grown and 9,439 titles were downloaded in a single month. On average, they are loaning out 363 a day.

Since the start of this year, the most popular genre for e-book borrowers in Northern Ireland has been romantic fiction, followed by the work of crime writers.

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