Wednesday, June 12, 2013

E-PLOSION !!! The Rise of E-book Circulation in Local Libraries

Between buying a Kindle, an iPad, or an Android Tablet, a lot of people are moving toward paperless book reading these days. Preliminary data from the annual BookStats study, released last month by the Association of American Publishers and the Book Industry Study Group, shows that 457 million electronic versions of books, or e-books, were sold last year. That's up 4456% since 2008, when just 10 million e-books were sold. And while this is impressive growth, it's still fewer than the 557 million hardcovers sold last year.

But even with more than a 4000% growth in sales, the news isn't "perfect" for the e-book sellers out there. After three years of triple-digit increases, the number of e-books sold last year grew by only 43%. And that's enough of a difference in the annual growth rate to have publishers talking about an e-book "slowdown," even as digital books remain the fastest-growing part of the market. They now account for about 20% of all book sales reported by publishers.

The Herkimer County 2012 Risk Assessment Profile (which I mentioned in this previous blog post) has a ton of information in it, including some data about e-book access among patrons of the Mid-York Library sytem. Among the vast amounts of data it has concerning Herkimer County is the chart below. It shows the huge growth in e-book and audio-file circulation for the libraries in Herkimer County between 2008 and 2011. Usually, downloadable e-books and audiobooks figures are included in total circulation figures; however the data have been disaggregated to illustrate that usage in Herkimer County tripled nearly across the board over 3 years and patrons in Herkimer County are using innovative technologies provided by their libraries. Be sure to check out the Risk Assessment and see what other interesting data it brings to light!

Click to Enlarge