Saturday, June 11, 2011

‘Huge spike’ in e-book downloads at Toronto libraries

by: Paul Moloney

Downloads of e-books by Toronto Public Library users have increased nearly 400 per cent over the past year, according to the library’s data.

“We’ve noticed a huge spike this year,” said Vickery Bowles, the library’s director of collections management.

In May, readers accessed 21,736 e-books versus 5,629 in May, 2010, Bowles said.

“What is significant is to see this huge spike in use which we’re not seeing in other formats,” she said. “So it’s an indication that people are adopting the new technology more and more, which is really exciting.”

All that’s needed is a library card and internet access to download books from the Toronto Public Library website to an e-reader or other device, she said.

The reader borrows the material for three weeks, at which time it disappears from their device, which in turn means you can’t be fined for overdue books.

“You don’t have to worry about getting your books back on time.”

While electronic use is soaring, traditional library usage is holding its own as well, Bowles said.

Visits to the library’s 99 branches increased last year to 18 million from 17 million the previous year.

The library’s total circulation of hard copy materials came to more than 32 million last year, versus 257,700 downloads of electronic books and e-audiobooks containing voice recordings.

from: Toronto Star

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