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Library Journal’s 2015 Survey of Library eBook Usage is Friendly to Self-Pub

31 October 2015

From The Digital Reader:

Library Journal published its 6th annual survey on ebook in public libraries last week.

The report, which you can download here (PDF), tells us that the number of US libraries that lend ebooks to their patrons dipped slightly in the past year (to 94%) while the average size of an ebook catalog grew from a median of 10,484 to 14,397 (this, in spite of the high prices for library ebooks).

The report is chock full of information, including the news that fiction continues to be more popular than non-fiction, with “three-quarters (74%) of public libraries’ ebook collections are fiction titles, while 26% are nonfiction titles.”

. . . .

And the report had this to say about self-published books:

There is no shortage of data on declining ebook sales—and declining book sales in general, especially fiction. The headline—“Ebook sales declining”— misses some crucial nuances. Traditional sales tracking methodologies don’t capture the rise of independent and self-­published ebooks, which should not be ignored. It’s not just “vanity publishing” anymore.

We have found that the majority of libraries do not offer self-published ebooks, with the primary difficulty being not knowing what’s available and what is of sufficient quality. There are few booklists and lists of new releases—or even reviews—to guide them, so unless it’s a patron-­driven acquisition or a local author, the library has no way of knowing such a book even exists.

Given the problems that librarians face in acquiring books through non-traditional channels (by which I mean all books, and not just self-pub), it’s no surprise that self-pub titles are lacking.

Link to the rest at The Digital Reader

Ebooks, Libraries

5 Comments to “Library Journal’s 2015 Survey of Library eBook Usage is Friendly to Self-Pub”

  1. How is Konrath’s program to get Indie books into libraries coming along?

    Anyone have any experience with that?

  2. http://self-e.libraryjournal.com/

    There is also the Self E Program offered through Library Journal. You don’t get paid to hand participating libraries a book, but you do get nice exposure.

  3. Someone please help me understand how this article lives up to it’s title:

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    Library Journal’s 2015 Survey of Library eBook Usage is Friendly to Self-Pub
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    The article reminds me of a Rodriguez cartoon I saw years ago: 2 good old boy fishermen are sitting in their boat, lines out, reels in hand. Next to the boat a drowning man’s hand comes up for the 3rd time.

    One of the fishermen says to the other, without moving a muscle, “Only a miracle can save him now.”

    The fishermen had nothing against the drowning man. They may even have liked him. They just couldn’t think of any way to help.

    That Self E Program… an example of trying to help? If everyone helped to that same degree, where would we be?

    I love libraries and librarians (grew up in a library family), but public libraries are local government bureaucracies and resistant to change. Not necessarily to society needing to change, but to the library bureaucracies and their practices needing to change.

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