E-books on the Decline? We Beg to Differ!

ReadersFirst tends not to share news from for-profit vendors, but OverDrkive's recent press release is noteworthy, not so much because of OverDrive's success (though we at RF continue to wish them well) as for showing that, at least in public libraries, the e-book is far from being on the decline.

 "OverDrive announced today that 30 standalone public library systems and 19 library consortia in the U.S. and two other countries have set a new record for lending more than one million digital books in 2016. These 49 systems each achieved significant year over year circulation growth, and together surpassed the 32 systems that accomplished the feat in 2015."

Five libraries (or consortiums) circulated over 3 million e-books in one year. Seven circulated over 2 million. Here's the list, with percentages of growth. Note how the move to e-books is international. ReadersFirst is proud to note that many of our members, individually or as part of a consortia, are on the list.

Just think what might be accomplished if more content were to become available through more varied business models.

3 million or more digital books circulated
• Toronto Public Library (ON) +20% (standalone library)
• King County Library System (WA) +21% (standalone library)
• Wisconsin’s Digital Library (WI) +11% (consortia)
• Greater Phoenix Digital Library (AZ) +12% (consortia)
• The Ohio Digital Library (OH) +15% (consortia)

2 million or more digital books circulated
• New York Public Library (NY) +28% (standalone library)
• Los Angeles Public Library (CA) +44% (standalone library)
• Seattle Public Library (WA) +12% (standalone library)
• Tennessee READS (TN) +21% (consortia)
• Digital Downloads Collaboration (OH) +17% (consortia)
• Maryland’s Digital Library (MD) +14% (consortia)
• Ontario Library Service Consortium (ON) +12% (consortia)

1 million or more digital books circulated
• Hennepin County Library (MN) +20% (standalone library)
• Cuyahoga County Public Library (OH) +8% (standalone library)
• Public Library of Cincinnati and Hamilton County (OH) +22% (standalone library)
• Calgary Public Library (AB) +8% (standalone library)
• Fairfax County Public Library (VA) +20% (standalone library)
• San Francisco Public Library (CA) +23% (standalone library)
• Multnomah County Library (OR) +38% (standalone library)
• Broward County Library (FL) +13% (standalone library)
• Boston Public Library (MA) +24% (standalone library)
• Pikes Peak Library District (CO) +21% (standalone library)
• Mid-Continent Public Library (MO) +25% (standalone library)
• Indianapolis Public Library (IN) +19% (standalone library)
• Sno-Isle Libraries (WA) +34% (standalone library)
• County of Los Angeles Public Library (CA) +25% (standalone library)
• Denver Public Library (CO) +26% (standalone library)
• Carnegie Library of Pittsburgh (PA) +25% (standalone library)
• Harris County Public Library (TX) +34% (standalone library)
• Hillsborough County Public Library Cooperative (FL) +16% (standalone library)
• St. Louis County Library (MO) +17% (standalone library)
• The Free Library of Philadelphia (PA) +12% (standalone library)
• Brooklyn Public Library (NY) +21% (standalone library)
• Orange County Library System (FL) +12% (standalone library)
• Metropolitan Library System (OK) +8% (standalone library)
• San Antonio Public Library (TX) +25% (standalone library)
• Ottawa Public Library (ON) +9% (standalone library)
• CLEVNET (OH) +16% (consortia)
• Oregon Digital Library Consortium (OR) +9% (consortia)
• North Carolina Digital Library (NC) +18% (consortia)
• Kentucky Libraries Unbound (KY) +17% (consortia)
• Lîve-brary.com (NY) +15% (consortia)
• My Media Mall (IL) +1% (consortia)
• Utah’s Online Library (UT) +39% (consortia)
• Midwest Collaborative for Library Services (MI) +12% (consortia)
• Houston Area Digital Media Catalog (TX) +17% (consortia)
• Bridges (IA) +124% (started collection in July of 2015) (consortia)
• Las Vegas-Clark County Library District (NV) +31% (consortia)
• Auckland Libraries (NZ) +24% (consortia)

Michael Blackwell, St Mary's County Library (member of Maryland's e-book group)