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Indy Library eBooks Achieve Record Popularity

April 13, 2012

Following a national trend, Indianapolis Public Library patrons are downloading and reading Library eBooks in record numbers. New statistics released by the Library correspond with findings on Americans' reading habits by the Pew Research Center's Internet & American Life Project underwritten by the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation.

In the first quarter of 2012, Indianapolis Public Library patrons recorded 74,934 downloads of Library eBooks from its collection of over 35,000 eBooks available for free downloading. That compares to 18,850 downloads in the first quarter of 2011. For all of 2011, patrons recorded 122,444 downloads, compared to 23,483 in 2010.

According to the Pew Research Center study, the increased popularity of eBooks is part of a cultural shift from printed to digital materials, as more individuals claim ownership of tablet computers and eBook reading devices. In February 2012, 21% of American adults reported they had read an eBook during the previous year, compared to 17% in mid-December 2011. This is attributed to a rise in acquisition of such reading devices over the holiday. In addition, the Pew study found that those who read eBooks tend to read more books across all formats. The average eBook reader read 24 books in the past year, compared to an average of 15 books by a non-eBook reader. Those who read eBooks or have access to electronic content also say they spend more time reading in general.

Though the prevalence of eBooks is growing rapidly, printed books continue to dominate the world of book readers, with 72% of American adults indicating they had read a printed book in the previous year, compared with the 17% of adults who had read an eBook in the December survey.

"The results of this study, as well as our own statistic evidence, show that the Library must continue to focus on the needs of all patrons by providing the resources to match their preferences," stated Jackie Nytes, Library CEO.  "While our electronic resources will continue to grow, the Library's commitment to printed materials will remain strong. It's a format that will be with us for many years to come."

To meet growing patron demand for eBooks, the Library recently received a $100,000 grant from The Library Fund, a fund of The Indianapolis Foundation, to purchase over 5,800 eBook titles for its downloadable collection. Patrons can download eBooks from the "Your Library @ Home: Downloadables and More" link on the Library's website at, where one also can find a schedule of free Library classes to learn how to download materials.