| NEW YORK, June 22
NEW YORK, June 22 Though Kindles and Nooks are
becoming almost as common as books, more than half of all U.S.
readers don't know they can borrow e-books from their local
library, a Pew Center poll showed on Friday.
The poll showed 62 percent of readers didn't know if their
library had e-books for lending, and only 12 percent of
Americans 16 and older who read e-books had borrowed at least
one from a library in the past year.
"The most important thing libraries can do is make sure
e-books are accessible through the rest of the library system,"
said Micah May, the director of strategy at the New York Public
Library, about raising e-book lending awareness.
Of those who had borrowed e-books, 66 percent said their
library's selection was at least "good," while only 4 percent
thought theirs was "poor," the survey said.
There are difficulties, occasionally, with the process, with
56 percent of borrowers saying their libraries didn't have a
particular e-book while 52 percent found there was a waiting
list to borrow a book they wanted. Some 18 percent had
incompatible readers for the e-books they wanted.
May said most e-book lending problems were due to the
current library e-book distribution system. On Thursday, book
publisher Penguin agreed to digitally lend its books to the
NYPL, joining Random House and HarperCollins to become only the
third of the "Big Six" publishing companies to lend e-books
Simon and Schuster, Macmillan and Hachette don't lend new
e-books through libraries, according to Publisher's Weekly.
Print readers expressed interest in e-books, though. Of
those who don't borrow e-books, 46 percent said they'd be at
least somewhat likely to borrow a device pre-loaded with a book,
while 32 percent would be at least somewhat interested in
learning how to use an e-reader or download e-books.
Those who borrow e-books are much heavier readers than those
who don't, averaging six more books than non-borrowers last
The lack of knowledge about libraries and e-books means many
readers still buy; 55 percent of e-book readers with library
cards prefer to buy their e-books, while 46 percent said they
prefer purchasing printed books.
The purchasing numbers lessen with those who borrow e-books;
33 percent of e-book borrowers prefer to buy e-books and 57
percent prefer to borrow them.
Reading is still important to many Americans. Fifty-eight
percent of those 16 and older have library cards, while 69
percent said the library was important to them.
The Pew poll surveyed 2,986 Americans aged 16 and older by
phone with a margin of error of 2 percentage points.