What’s going on with e-book usage? – Catherine Leonard #open17

ALIA in 2013 predicted “50:50 by 2020”; in 2015 said actually maybe not – “predicted to plateau at 20-30%”

Auckland City Libraries experiencing slow but steady usage.

  • 2015-15 – 9% of checkouts
  • 2016/17 – 11%
  • Aug 2017 – 12%

E-usage isn’t rising at the same amount as print usage is decreasing.

What’s an e-collection strategy when you don’t own the content? How does this fit in with collection policy?

5 platforms for e-book/audio and 1 for e-magazines.Lots of feedback that this is too confusing for staff, let alone users. Staff end up only showing one platform (usually Overdrive). So trying to find out more about usage in order to make decisions.

Could get basic stats but very one-dimensional. So developed a methodology and tool to extract data and combine with patron data (from Sierra). Lots of normalisation and validation of data. Then could look more deeply into information.

  1. Most users used only 1 ebook platform; 10% use 2; <2% (mostly staff!) use 3+
  2. Demographic similar to traditional library users: 70% female; 68% European; 35-64 years old (especially the older end whereas traditional is at the younger end); Asian, Māori, Pasifika underrepresented – there’s a correlation between content and usage and not much content for Māori and Pasifika but what’s there is used a lot.
  3. Youngest patrons have lowest use
  4. Men checkout more e-audiobooks than women – this is growing at a higher rate than ebooks
  5. Heatmap of users by home library

Annual customer survey then came about so inserted four questions on e-books about awareness and satisfaction. 62% aware of e-lending; 41% aware but never used (including many using other platforms but not library’s); 12% have used in last 4 months. Asked how can we improve your experience of borrowing ebooks “so that you would give a rating of ‘very satisfied’ next time”?

  • First-time users find it intimidating – even techy people, who felt embarrassed to ask for help
  • Availability “I don’t see the point of people wait for 1 of 3 copies when those copies don’t actually exit … you should be using an updated model … aka Netflix, Facebook” – users don’t want us blaming publishers
  • Choice
  • Number of platforms – 2nd from bottom of issues

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