A Look at eBook Usage, Availability at Two Atlanta-Area Libraries

Posted on April 1, 2012 by


From the Atlanta Journal-Constitution:

The impact [new e-reader purchased during the 2011 holiday season] on area libraries was similarly dramatic. Cobb’s number of “unique library card users” checking out e-books jumped by 31 percent from November to December. Public demand was so great that the cash-strapped DeKalb County Public Library carved $10,000 out of its budget to begin lending e-books in December.

“No other [new] format has compared to e-books in terms of popularity and exponential growth,” said John Szabo, director of the Atlanta-Fulton Public Library System, where e-book checkout numbers first surged noticeably during the 2010 holiday season and haven’t let up since.

“It’s a huge opportunity,” Szabo continued. “I worry about us not being able to take enough advantage of it.”

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For all the excitement surrounding e-books, they’re still a small part of what libraries do. Atlanta-Fulton Library users checked out 3,863,558 items in 2011, of which 45,083 were e-books or e-audiobooks. Cobb’s 345,112 library card holders currently include 8,634 users of the digital download service.

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DeKalb’s acquisitions budget, which has to cover everything from large print and children’s book purchases to DVDs and magazine subscriptions, didn’t grow to accommodate the addition of e-books.

“We wiggled the money out of something else,” said Weissinger. “We’re buying fewer extra copies of things now and having to spread them across more formats than ever.”

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We believe that pricing to libraries must account for the higher value of this institutional model, which permits e-books to be repeatedly circulated without limitation,” Stuart Applebaum, a Random House spokesperson, explained in an emailed statement.

Read the Complete Article

See Also: Visit the DeKalb County Public Library Web Site

See Also: Visit the Cobb County Public Library Web Site

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