Current conditions & future forecasts for digital downloads in libraries, both eBook & audiobook, hold interest for all who are trying to read the tea leaves in the bottom of the library budget cup. OverDrive posted some interesting numbers on their blog after surveying 5,000 users in June 2010:
~ 74% of users are female, between the ages of 30-59.
~ Nearly 70% have a college and/or postgraduate degree.
~ 60% learned about the download service from the library’s website
~ 87% listen to audiobooks on an MP3 player, 44% of which are iPod users.
~ 33% of users own an eBook reader (e.g., Sony Reader, Barnes & Noble nook)
~ For those who don’t own an eBook reader, 90% stated that compatibility of eBooks from the library is an important factor.
And the COSLA eBook Feasibility Study for Public Libraries research study, initiated in Fall 2009 by the Chief Officers of State Library Agencies (COSLA) as an internal conversation about eBooks, is essential reading for every librarian as we grapple with the digital revolution. Here’s what you’ll find in the COSLA study, with observations that hold true for any downloadable media, including audiobooks:
In this report, you’ll read concerns and ideas about access and ease of use for library eBooks, library purchasing models, shifting relationships with vendors and publishers, cost and selection, copyright and fair use, and how to make the public library’s voice heard as eBooks change how people read for leisure and learning. We found new roles for public libraries and ways that COSLA could help provide leadership.
Where’s it all going? My Magic 8 ball isn’t saying. But it’s good to gather information that will get us on top of the wave – or at least keep our heads above the water 😉