Americans Call for Libraries to Provide More Ebooks

Just over half of Americans say libraries should “definitely” offer a broader selection of ebooks, according to a new poll.

When asked whether libraries should be “offering a broader selection of ebooks, 53% of Americans said it was something they should “definitely do” in the latest survey from the Pew Internet & American Life Project, Library Services in the Digital Age.

Currently, through vendors like OverDrive and 3M, most libraries in the U.S. offer ebooks. Some of the most popular books aren’t available to borrow as ebooks from libraries because large publishers like Simon & Schuster and Macmillan either generally don’t sell ebooks to libraries or are only experimenting with doing so at this stage.


Interesting to Note: Lack of Ebooks Double-Whammy for Libraries?

Some 26% of library patrons say their library use has increased over the past five years. Of those, 5% say it’s because of the availability of ebooks and other digital media.

At the same time, 22% of library patrons say their use has decreased over the past five years. Of those, 6% say it’s because they “prefer” ebooks.

One thought on “Americans Call for Libraries to Provide More Ebooks

  1. Michael W. Perry

    Ebooks offers the same double-edged sword to libraries that the Internet offers to NPR. Being able to stream NPR shows or get them as podcasts breaks the link between listeners and their local NPR station. Being able to get ebooks from a wide variety of sources located almost anywhere, breaks a patron’s link to their local library. When taxes for libraries are up for a vote, they’re less likely to feel a potential personal loss.

    In the near future, the Internet and training sites like the Khan Academy pose the same threat to public schools. Why deal with all the unpleasant issues public schools offer when a top-notch education, at least at the high school and above level, is available online for motivated students? Although in that case, the Internet may be offering public schools, a near monopoly if you’re not rich, some much-needed competition.

    Ebooks needs a meta-source that locate a particular title from multiple sources, for sale and checkout (like WorldCat). And all that schooling available on the Internet needs a new sort of teacher, one that’d guide home-schooled students to Internet resources and watch their progress.



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