How many downloadable audiobooks & eBooks at your public library?

Check out the stats in this interesting conversation going on at the MobileRead forum: http://www.mobileread.com/forums/showthread.php?p=1010415. After the question “How many e-books does your library offer?” was asked, respondents chimed in with totals gathered through an OverDrive search on their public library’s digital download site. Interesting numbers on eBooks in their various formats (the focus of the MobileRead site), but with the totals of both WMA & MP3 digital audiobooks available at many public libraries listed as well. Clicking through the more-than-60 replies, it’s fascinating to see the differences between big towns & small, along with a sprinkling of non-US countries. There’s advice on states that allow all residents to apply for cards in every library in the state, with recommendations for the best systems in that state for digital access. Most interesting are the posts that describe public libraries that allow non-resident cards for a yearly fee. Jump into the discussion and add statistics from your local library!

It’s clear that the hunger for digital eBooks & audiobooks is greater than the supply for many savvy online patrons. Is it time for libraries to market their download materials to a broader online community who may lack local services, and to gain funds through yearly access fees? Couple this with OverDrive’s Library BIN program – an online retail ebook & audiobook download store that enables purchasers to select a public library at checkout as a beneficiary of a percentage of the sale to be used  to purchase eBooks, audiobooks, and other media for its library download website – and the drive for digital downloads may deliver some much-needed cash for material purchases!

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About the Author:

Mary Burkey is an independent library consultant in Columbus (OH). An enthusiastic audiophile, she has served on all four of ALA's audiobook award committees as well as the Audies. In addition to writing the "Voices in My Head" column for Booklist, she is the author of Audiobooks for Youth: A Practical Guide to Sound Literature (ALA, 2013). Follow her on Twitter at @mburkey.

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