Skip to main content

76% of US Libraries Offer eBooks, Nearly 2 in 5 Lend eReaders

7413758502_b9b95654cb[1]The major publishers might not be all that interested in selling ebooks to libraries but the feeling is not mutual.

The American Library Association released their annual state of the library report today, and in spite of the lack of publisher support the adoption of ebooks and ereaders is up. Over three-quarters of American libraries reported in the survey that they lend ebooks, up from 67% in the previous survey.  The libraries are now using a wide variety of vendors, including ebrary, 3M Cloud library, Axis360, as well as others.

A growing number of libraries are also lending ereaders to their patrons. The report showed that 39% of the 7,200 plus libraries surveyed lent ereaders, up from 28% in the previous survey. That is a remarkable increase, and  I can also confirm this anecdotally. I have seen a number of news reports over the past few months of libraries announcing new ereader collections, including newly purchased Nook Touch ereaders.

This report also shows that more Americans than ever are using their libraries, and libraries are working to meet that demand. Over 91% of US libraries now offer free Wifi and internet, with 62% indicating that they were the only source of free internet access in their communities. Some are even considering following in the footsteps of BiblioTech, the bookless public library located in Bexar County. That library is still on schedule to open in Fall 2013, and it will stock ereaders and tablets for patrons to use or check out as well as a sizable ebook collection.

The data in this report comes from the annual survey which is conducted every Fall, so it is fairly out of date by this point. But even with the age issue this report is sill useful in providing a snapshot of library use.


image by Muffet

Similar Articles


Albert April 16, 2013 um 4:15 pm

Aren’t these libraries who just purchased the Nook Simple Touch going to get sued (like the Philadelphia Free Library and the Sacramento ) for violation of the ADA?

Nate Hoffelder April 16, 2013 um 4:21 pm

That’s what I am expecting, but apparently they don’t think so.

Jinnie November 17, 2014 um 12:18 am

The 2014 ALA State of Libraries report says the case was settled in favor of open access through the Library of Congress:

"A victory for the visually impaired and the disabled
Finally, in September 2013, the Library of Congress announced that those who are blind, visually impaired, or have a physical disability can download audio and braille books to their i-device if they are registered with the Library of Congress’s National Library Service for the Blind and Physically Handicapped. Yes, there’s an app for that, available free through the Apple App Store; it allows access through local cooperating libraries to almost 50,000 books, magazines, and music scores in audio and braille formats, with new selections added daily. "

Lilbits (4-16-2013): Netflix to go HTML5, Xiaomi to go international – Liliputing April 16, 2013 um 5:32 pm

[…] 76% of US libraries lend eBooks, 39 percent loan eReaders Part of the reason I bought a Kindle a few years ago is that I realized I could use it to borrow eBooks from my local library without leaving the house. Apparently you can do that almost anywhere in the US… and in some places you can even borrow an eReader if you don’t have one. [The Digital Reader] […]

Chris Welch April 16, 2013 um 10:55 pm

I just heard tonight that a small local public library in the small college town a hopskipjump down the road from my small non-college town saw a 179-percent increase in ebook lending last year. This was in the library director’s report to the local city council. The library uses Overdrive, AND loans out individual ebook readers; two Sony’s, two Kindles, two Nooks.
When the students are gone over the summer, there are about 10,000 residents in the town. About 7,000 students live on campus nine months out of the year, and another 4,000 or so commute to the school. The library has free public wi-fi, and the college has nearly campus wide wi-fi, but you have to be a student or staff member to log on to the system.

And no one has sued the library yet 🙂
The library does, however, loan out those new-ish audiobooks that are MP3 based. I forget what they are called off-hand, but there is basically one audiobook file on a play-only device (that is, non-recordable) about the size of a deck of cards.
Actually, for a small town library, they are really up on their tech compared to others I have seen.

Nate Hoffelder April 16, 2013 um 11:01 pm

The audiobooks sound like Playaway hardware.

Chris Welch April 17, 2013 um 11:37 am

Yep, that’s it — Playaway.

Could NOT remember that for the life of me….

Stumbling Over Chaos :: Linkity is ignoring the current blizzard April 19, 2013 um 3:05 am

[…] A lot of US libraries are lending ebooks and some are even lending ebook readers. […]

In the Future, Will Libraries Look More Like Apple Stores? | Tim April 26, 2013 um 2:49 pm

[…] 76% of US Libraries Offer eBooks, Nearly 2 in 5 Lend eReaders ( […]

Digital Publishing News: Token Model For EBook Checkouts At The Library | Urban Post Books April 29, 2013 um 12:56 am

[…] 76% of US Libraries Offer eBooks, Nearly 2 in 5 Lend eReaders ( […]

Lee Child on Poverty and Ebooks – Huh? | Ethan James Clarke October 3, 2014 um 12:35 pm

[…] a commentator ups the ante by pointing out that libraries even lend out ereaders themselves to go with the growing selection of ebooks they have on offer. Will the third time get the message […]

Why are libraries making a comeback – Liquid State December 22, 2015 um 8:56 pm

[…] Statistics also indicate that digital book borrowing rates from libraries have increased dramatically in countries such as America. […]

Een drone, graag – IP | vakblad voor informatieprofessionals August 10, 2017 um 3:30 am

[…] Zie […]

Write a Comment