The Toronto Public Library had 3.7 million audiobook and e-book checkouts via OverDrive in 2016 and their total digital circulation was over 5 million if you factor in Hoopla, OneClickDigital and Zinio. These type of loan figures are the byproduct of a unified strategy to put the emphasis on e-book discovery via their website and promote the library system in the city of Toronto.
The city of Toronto is the e-book capital of Canada and many of the most popular digital companies are located there. Wattpad is the current undisputed market leader in fan-fiction, short stories and serialized fiction. Readers spend 15 billion minutes on Wattpad every month and more than 500 writers have published completed works that have been read more than a million times. There are over 350 million stories, in 50 languages, on the site. Kobo is also located in Toronto and they are known all over the world as being the number 2 e-reading company, next to Amazon. They have a digital catalog of over 5.1 million titles and millions of readers consume digital content each month. Booknet Canada specializes in analytics and data on the entire Canadian digital publishing and traditional publishing industry.
The Toronto Public Library loans out the most digital titles consistently for the past three years. Maria Cipriano is in charge of adult eBook purchasing and curating and gave her thoughts on how she approaches audiobook and e-book curation to serve the needs of the community.
“Our ultimate goal is to promote the enjoyment of reading and to facilitate this by uniting readers with the books they are seeking in the most user friendly way possible. The curation of eBook collections is an integral part of our service and providing easy access to great content significantly enhances the user experience for our customers, here are some key points.”
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Libraries have finite budgets and are unable to purchase enough copies to provide immediate access to his week’s best sellers (unlike bookstores) and the hottest titles will, inevitably, be checked out with lengthy holds lists. This is where curation plays a key role in providing a readers advisory service – we can create collections of great reads with available copies that allow customers to find something to read immediately. Customers can read something else while they wait for the latest blockbuster title they placed on hold on. We guide customers to last year’s bestsellers (books that they never got around to reading and forgot about), award-winning titles, best books lists, slightly older books that had media attention, books library staff personally enjoyed, etc. We actually have to work at this a lot harder than online bookstores who have unlimited copies of new books and don’t have to promote mid and backlist titles that much.
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In Canada, our customers like to read books by Canadian authors and we can easily gather these together for them. Libraries play a role in promoting indie titles as well. For example, I curated a list of 295 titles of books set in Toronto – it is fun to read books set in your own backyard. I am sure this is the case for readers in San Francisco, Auckland, etc.
Link to the rest at GoodEReader