A new Pew study reveals that Americans’ reading habits are being maintained. What’s more, the percentages reading an ebook vs. a print book have been level as well for the past four years.  While single method only readers favor print over ebooks by 38% to 6%, what’s really interesting is that a solid 28% read in both formats.  A full 26% in this survey have not read a *single book in the past year* and admit it (I figure reading books is an admired activity that one might inflate in self-reporting).  Still, even if the read-a-book figure is high, it’s consistently so, indicating no decline in overall reading.  What I like also about a survey like this is that it’s asking people how many books they read – whether self-published or traditionally published, whether bought at big box retail or borrowed from a library, etc. – not trying to track sales, so there is none of the usual suspicion that a certain market is being missed entirely.

Another note of utter stability is the age breakdown, indicating no necessary change in these preferences in the near future.  The factors in preferring digital seem to be income and education.  From the study:

Relatively few Americans are “digital-only” book readers regardless of their demographic characteristics. However, some demographic groups are slightly more likely than others to do all of their reading in digital format. For instance, 7% of college graduates are digital-only book readers (compared with just 3% of those who have not graduated from high school), as are 8% of those with annual household incomes of $75,000 or more (compared with 3% of Americans with incomes of $30,000 or less). Interestingly, young adults are no more likely than older adults to be “digital-only” book readers: 6% of 18- to 29-year-olds read books in digital formats only, compared with 7% of 30- to 49-year-olds and 5% of those 50 and older.


This controversy is so much more involved and multi-faceted (and I think important to learn about and discuss!) than I appreciated earlier.  As more read ebooks on smartphones, the issue of how far companies are obligated to go to assist law enforcement in bypassing their own privacy and security features will be of interest to many.  Regardless of your take (if you have one), I just wanted to point out the relevant ALA press release and another very well-linked blog post from the Center for the Future of Libraries (also on the ALA website) covering many of the issues and positions.

NPR also has an article with very clear FAQ style explanation and background.


After their merger a couple of years ago, Random House, owned by a private German media firm called Bertelsmann, and the Penguin Group maintained separate and very different eBook licensing models for the library market.  It seems that has changed.  Starting in the new year both companies will offer eBooks with permanent licenses (Random’s practice) with prices somewhat reduced from what Random House had been charging (generally $65 per title vs. the standard maximum today of $85).  Read the PW article here.

The response by ALA President Sari Feldman has been as follows:

“Libraries will be pleased that the combined Penguin Random House license will ensure perpetual access to e-titles, and all will be glad the previous ceiling of $85 per title has been reduced,” said ALA President Sari Feldman. “But I also know many of my colleagues will miss the flexibility of paying near-consumer prices for e-copies they may not wish to maintain indefinitely, and some will be unable to afford to provide access to the ebooks their communities seek.”

There has been a lot of talk about how ebook use is no longer climbing, perhaps even sliding.

A recent New York Times article “The Plot Twist: E-Book Sales Slip and Print Is Far From Dead” was widely disseminated and print readers rejoiced.

Fortune Magazine disagrees. Their article says traditional publishers ebooks are slipping, partly because of publishers are maintaining high prices.  Self-published titles continue to grow.

A  recent blog posting by the Goodereader says Libraries Report 2015 Has Been the Best Year Ever for e-Books .The problem continue to be libraries keeping up with the high price of ebooks for libraries compared to the price of ebooks for individuals and price of print books.

Since I buy the adult Overdrive books, I glad to hear the ebook use in libraries is still growing.  We know it is for Sno-Isle.

Posted by Becky

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The moment has arrived when there are as many or more copies and holds on the eAudio version of many bestsellers. Some examples are:

The Girl on the Train by Paula Hawkins

103 Audiobook holds

121 eAudio holds

All the Light We Cannot See by Anthony Doerr 

94 Audiobook holds

108 eAudio holds

On the other hand there’s Dead Wake by Erik Larson

55 Audiobook holds

34 eAudio holds

So content clearly still matters when it comes to format choice. I notice, though, that half of my wishlist titles in 3M this week were westerns, something I’ve never seen before.  Books and eBooks have their relative advantages, but I’m hoping the migration to eAudio from Audiobooks continues and accelerates.  These audio formats offer fairly identical listening experiences and the digital format has so many advantages such as no late returns and no repair downtime, etc. while the pricing and use terms are similar (unlike many books).  I know you’re all experts in promoting and inviting in a way that doesn’t feel “pushy” and really appreciate everyone’s contribution to this terrific trend!



Please take another look at our OverDrive page to see how it displays what are called “curated collections.” These are display areas we can create ourselves, much like the display shelves in 3M.  Jim showed this new feature to us a few months ago, but as a resolution I’m planning on paying a lot more attention to them in 2015. I welcome collection suggestions for eAudio.



According to a Nielsen Books & Consumers survey reported by PW, eBook sales accounted for 21% of sales from January 1 through September 30 of this year, which is a slight dip from the first half of the year. Paperbacks rose a bit to 43% and hardcovers were steady at 25%.  E-retailers claimed 39% of the eBook market, while Amazon alone apparently sold to 57% of reporting eBook consumers in that nine months.

By the way, you may have noticed we now have Simon & Schuster titles in both 3M and OverDrive, including Anthony Doerr’s All the Light We Cannot See. After analyzing its first few months’ experience in the library eBook market, late last month the publisher dropped its requirement that libraries buying its titles participate in a Buy-It-Now (BIN) program.