Digital Books Becoming Mainstream, but Public Libraries Aren't Going Anywhere

By Rachel Ramsey January 22, 2013

In December, a Pew Internet Research Center survey found that readers of traditional books dropped from 72 percent to 67 percent, those owning an e-book device or tablet jumped from 18 percent to 33 percent and awareness that libraries offer digital texts grew from 24 percent to 31 percent. If it wasn’t apparent that digital books are en route to replacing traditional, physical books, the first public bookless library, BiblioTech, was announced in San Antonio, Texas last week.

This isn’t to say the demise of the physical book or the public library is happening. Public libraries are continuing to adapt to the digital age with services such as OverDrive and OneClick Digital.

A more recent Pew Internet Research Center report, “Library Services in the Digital Age,” assures that even in the digital age, libraries continue to serve a variety of functions. Nearly 60 percent of respondents had some kind of interaction with a library in the last 12 months, with 91 percent saying that public libraries are important to their communities.

The vast majority of the 2,252 Americans ages 16 and older who were surveyed, 73 percent still visit libraries to browse the shelves and borrow print books. Only 26 percent of respondents use library computers or Wi-Fi connections to go online.



Image via Los Angeles Times

In a recent workshop on libraries and e-books, Barbara Genco, manager of special projects at Library Journal, revealed that 89 percent of libraries offer e-books and the 2012 expenditures on e-books could hit $90 million. Genco also revealed that 71 percent of readers who borrow e-books use the library for e-book discovery and 40 percent use the libraries’ e-book catalogs for discovery.

According to Nicholas Carr, an American writer on technology, business and culture and a finalist for a 2011 Pulitzer Prize, “It may be that e-books, rather than replacing printed books, will ultimately serve a role more like that of audio books—a complement to traditional reading, not a substitute.”

In addition to public libraries, consumers have multiple options when it comes to reading books digitally. Amazon, Google and Apple all offer a digital book service for their respective devices, and there is also the soon-to-launch Oyster, a subscription service for unlimited access to an ever-growing library of books.




Edited by Allison Boccamazzo

TechZone360 Web Editor

SHARE THIS ARTICLE
Related Articles

Windows 10 Free Upgrade Ends This Week: Rethinking Microsoft's OS

By: Rob Enderle    7/26/2016

At the end of the week the free upgrade window for Windows 10 closes. This has been an interesting experience because Windows 10 for the most part ste…

Read More

Ericsson CEO Leaves the Company

By: Paula Bernier    7/26/2016

The move from hardware- to software-based networking solutions, along with the fact that our still recovering economy has kept many businesses cautiou…

Read More

3D Printing Helps Unlock Phone's Secrets

By: Alicia Young    7/25/2016

Recently, the police's ability to access someone's phone has been a hot topic in American news. I'm sure we all remember the ordeal involving Apple an…

Read More

Verizon Snaps Up Yahoo: A Yahoo! Or Yah Boo!

By: Peter Bernstein    7/25/2016

The sale of Yahoo's core assets to Verizon for a reported $4.83 billion, leaving Yahoo shareholders with roughly a $41 billion investment in Chinese I…

Read More

Four Most In-Demand Programming Languages and Frameworks For Wearables

By: Drew Hendricks    7/25/2016

It's no secret that development and programming are very highly sought-after skills these days. Various tech jobs are consistently among the highest p…

Read More