Buying over borrowing

ACPL's E-reader fair

E-reader fair at the Allen County (Indiana) Public Library. Photo by ACPL.

The rise of e-reading, a new report from the Pew Internet & American Life Project, says that e-book readers are more likely to buy books rather than borrow them, and are more likely to start a search at a bookseller than a library.

So does this mean libraries are no longer relevant for these readers?

I don’t think so. Slightly more e-readers than print-only readers reported getting recommendations from librarians or library websites (21% vs. 19% – not a significant difference). And all readers in the study preferred to buy over borrow – except in the case of audio books.

I suspect that starting a search at a bookseller has more to do with availability (or perceived availability) of e-books.