The popularity of the ebooks designated for digital book reading is gaining momentum with every passing day. eBooks by top retailers like Amazon, Barnes & Noble and Kobo have reached the people up a storm and ebooks are selling now much more than hard covers. The Pew Poll Research conducted recently presented results identifying that about 64% of the ebook readers do not know they can borrow books from the library.
The research also showed that about 62% of the eBook users in USA had no idea that their library can lend ebooks. Just 12% of USA residents, 16 years of age and above who use ebook readers borrowed just one digital copy from the library in the past year. The research respondents were asked about the quality of ebook collection in their local library and 66% answered that the collection was comprehensive and they were satisfied, while 4% pointed out their library presents a poor collection of ebooks. This research was conducted over 2,986 ebook users who responded to all the questions.
The most prominent companies in North America who provide lending software to libraries are Overdrive and 3M. A number of ebook readers do not offer the built-in facility to borrow ebooks and the process for adding the book borrowing facility in a device is quite complicated. Only Android tablets offer a better option for, through their official apps. The survey shows that out of all those who polled, almost 18% of the devices they used were incapable of ebook borrowing.
A large number of libraries do not advertise their ability to lend digital copies simply because many of them do not have financial assistance to conduct advertising campaigns. Most of the library advertising is limited to a few press releases on the Internet that usually go unnoticed. Overdrive shows new signups on their blogs, while 3M is usually very quiet about its users. With this lack of advertising and unawareness, the users are forced to buy books instead of borrowing them. Research showed that 55% of the ebook users with library cards actually want to buy their ebooks, while 46% like to purchase hard copies.
It is quite unsurprising that a large number of ebook users have no clue that they can borrow books from libraries. This lack of awareness is obviously attributed to the lack of promotional campaigns by libraries and by Overdrive.
Two effective steps are required to increase people perception. The first step includes a televised and commercial publicity by Overdrive and 3M across the nation. Publicity by social networks and YouTube can also announce people about this facility. The second step includes ebook reader companies incorporating facilities to borrow and lend on their devices, like the Sony PRS-T1, which has a built-in Overdrive software app to borrow ebooks in simple steps. Although it is a tough call, Overdrive and 3M should target major ebook reader companies, in order to get their lending software on the latest devices.