Digital Trends reported about a new study conducted by Pew’s Internet & American Life Project, which showed that nearly six out of ten library patrons weren’t even aware that they could borrow e-books for free from their library. Furthermore, only twelve percent of Americans above the age of 16 have borrowed an e-book from their local library in the past twelve months. Specific to technology, fifty-three percent of tablet owners didn’t know about the availability of library e-books and 48 percent of Kindle and Nook owners were just as uninformed. In addition, approximately half of respondents that have read at least one e-book in the past year weren’t aware about library e-book borrowing .
Of the small portion of people that have checked out an e-book in the last year, half of those people haven’t been able to locate a particular book in an electronic format or found a long waiting list to get access to the book.
Since libraries pay for a limited number of copies to legally lend out, many libraries use an email waiting list to notify a patron about the availability of the book. Once the book is returned by another patron, the next patron on the waiting list receives an email and has a limited amount of time to download the title. An additional eighteen percent of those people were able to locate the correct book, but the book format wasn’t compatible with their e-reader or tablet.
Americans that do have a library card are much more likely to own and use more technology than people without cards. Pew researchers found that eighty-seven percent of library card holders owned their own desktop or laptop computer compared to sixty-seven percent of people without a library card. However, that difference was much smaller with mobile phone ownership.
Likely interesting to companies like Amazon that sell e-books, over forty percent of the people that regularly read e-books checked out from the library purchased the last book that they read. In addition, library card holders also read about twice as many books per year as people without a library card.