Results of Survey: Library Use of E-Books

Primary Research Group has published Library Use of E-books, 2008-09 Edition, (isbn 1-57440-101-7) and would like to share some of the results. *

Data in the report is based on a survey of 75 academic, public and special libraries.. Librarians detail their plans on how they plan to develop their e-book collections, what they think of e-book readers and software, and which e-book aggregators and publishers appeal to them most and why. Other issues covered include: library production of e-books and collection digitization, e-book collection information literacy efforts, use of e-books in course reserves and inter-library loan, e-book pricing and inflation issues, acquisition sources and strategies for e-books and other issues of concern to libraries and book publishers.

Some of the findings of the 110 page report are:

• Libraries in the sample expected to renew over 77% of their current contracts.

• Well over 81% of the sample cataloged their e-book collection and listed it in their online library catalog.

• E-book spending by libraries is growing rapidly in 2008 but by significantly less than in 2007.

• For the most part, librarians in the sample felt that their patrons were less skilled in using e-book collections than they were in using databases of magazine, newspaper and journal articles.

• The libraries in the sample had MARC records for a mean of approximately 74% of the e-books in their collections.

• Many libraries reported significant use of electronic directories. 12.5% reported extensive use and 30% said that use was significant. The larger libraries reported the heaviest use.

• Use of e-books in the hard sciences was particularly high. More than 30% of participants said that use of e-books in the hard sciences (defined as chemistry, physics and biology) was quite extensive and another 26% noted significant use.

• Libraries in the sample maintained a print version for a mean of 24% of the e-books in their e-book collections.

• Nearly 21% of the libraries in our sample have digitized out-of-copyright books in their collections in order to make their contents more available to their patrons.

• E-books account for only about 3.9% of the books on course reserve, with a minimum of 0 to a maximum of 30%.

• Nearly 70% of the sample’s total spending on e-books was with aggregators, while just over 24.6% of the total spending was spent with individual publishers.

Data is broken out by library budget size, for US and non-US libraries and for academic and non-academic libraries. The report presents more than 300 tables of data on e-book use by libraries, as well as analysis and commentary.

For further information view our website at
____________________________________ *It would be interesting to know how many, if any, of the respondents to this Survey were law libraries. While doing some work in related legal reference information in digital formats, I was suprised at how few references I found which mentioned e-books.
David Badertscher


One response to “Results of Survey: Library Use of E-Books”

  1. S. Falcon says:

    I am the new owner of a Kindle 2 and even more pleased than I expected to be with it. My wife thought it was a dumb idea and now I can’t get it away from her. How do I like it, “let me count the ways……” I am 83 and have been increasingly checking out large print books from the library where I can only see the middle shelves and their spines when browzing. Now with the Kindle 2, I can change the print to suit my eyes and further, I can make more intelligent choices of books because I have more information of what is available at my finger tips. Further I can sample books before I buy in case I have forgotten that I have read them. I also subscribe to Audible.Com [an Amazon company] and buttress my Kindle 2 with beautifully read audio books when I can’t get my Kindle back from my wife. I have always been “hooked on books” and now it has never been easier to enjoy the best in the most portable manner and not especially expensive when one considers the time and transportation saved.

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