What’s hot to the touch, sizzling even, but doesn’t smell like the hamburgers and hotdogs on the grill that’s so permeates the air this time of year? Ebooks and Eaudiobooks from the library of course! Even before the shutdown of the library due to the Covid-19 pandemic in March 2020, Ebooks and Eaudiobooks have been one of our greatest expanding mediums for the library in terms of collection buying and usage. The Covid-19 Shutdown, where the physical library was closed for a little over three months, sent that trend up into overdrive.
Luckily I can tell you that our physical items have come back to about 85% of their circulation numbers compared to January through May 2019 after we reopened after Labor Day. While the physical circ has stabilized and get’s closer to 100% with each month that passes, this reset of library usage has not stopped the Ebooks and Eaudiobooks on Cloudlibrary to continue to circulate at record levels.
I love statistics if you couldn’t tell so I thought I would share some with you about usage of Ebooks and Eaudiobooks on the library’s Cloudlibrary app. First in 2020 and 2021 so far we have gained 865 new users. For January through May 2021, Adams Countians circulated 34,153 Ebooks and Eaudiobooks, an average of 6,830 a month! Using the same time frame as an example, in 2020, 31,768 items were circulated. To prove the point that we have been heading in the northerly direction even when Covid-19 closurers weren’t a concern, in 2019 during the same time frame of January – May we circulated 20,362 items. However as mentioned before, Covid-19 sent a sizzling property into orbit. For the full year in 2020, we circulated 84,749 items compared to 54,759 in all of 2019. A difference of almost exactly 30,000 items. Watching the numbers to start this year, I fully expect the number of checkouts to surpsase the 2020 record of 84,759. To put 84,759 into some perspective, using the 2019 numbers which were the last full year data we have, the Cloudlibrary app by itself would be our third Busiest Branch behind Gettysburg and East Berlin.
Why is this trend so shocking, besides it being an astronomical figure of 67.8% growth in a little over two years, is that Ebooks and Eaudiobooks are expensive for public libraries to circulate, like really expensive. In addition to just being expensive, they also usually come with some type of lending limitation, such as 26 checkouts only, a one year contract, or a two year contract. Once one of those lending limitations occurs, the library has to purchase another copy of the title if we want to keep it in our Ecollection. This is vastly different than our physical collection as once we purchase a physical copy of the book we can circulate it until it falls apart or become obsolete. We purchase as much as our budget allows, but Ebooks can be double or triple the physical book price and Eaudiobooks can be 4 times the price of physical audiobooks. If you want to honor someone graduating this year, having a birthday, retiring from their job, or in memory of a loved one, sponsoring Ebooks and Eaudiobooks is a great way to do it!
It really is incredible and this year I have the honor of purchasing new titles for the Ebooks portion of Cloudlibrary. I have purchased the Eaudiobooks portion in the past. Every Friday, a cart of about 30-35 new Ebooks are added to the collection and we make sure that we always put those new titles in the "new titles shelf" for that week at the top of the Cloudlibrary App. New Eaudiobooks are added monthly. If you have a title suggestion for Ebooks or Eaudiobooks that you would like to read please use the link on the library website for new material requests. Summer is a great time to check out our Cloudlibrary App so you don't have to carry 10 books in your luggage or lug the physical audiobooks with you in the car.
Have a great start to your 2021 Summer and happy reading and listening!
Submitted by Brandt Ensor, Assistant Director, Adams County Library System