Click image to download survey PDF.

The results of a new survey sponsored by OverDrive with the American Library Association’s Office for Information Technology Policy (OITP) reaffirm what librarians already know: libraries play a key role in readers’ book-buying decisions.


Conducted in June and July of this year at thousands of OverDrive-powered public library websites in the United States, the poll found that patrons purchase an average of 3.2 books (both print and e-books) each month, and a majority would consider purchasing books discovered on a library website. (View the press release.)


With more than 75,000 respondents, the survey constitutes the largest study of library eBook usage to date. The findings echo those of earlier studies, such as the Pew Internet Project’s “Libraries, Patrons, and E-books,” revealing that a significant percentage of library users regularly purchase books they first discover at the library. In the OverDrive-ALA survey, 57 percent of respondents said that the public library is their primary source of book discovery.


Key Findings

  • Public library is primary source of book discovery for 57 percent of respondents
  • Library patrons purchase average of 3.2 books per month (including print and e-books)
  • Patrons’ digital book purchases have increased in past six months (44%)
  • 35 percent of respondents have purchased a book (print or e-book) after borrowing that title
  • Nearly half (48 percent) of respondents report household income greater than $75,000


To see the full survey data, download this PDF.


Michael Lovett is Public Relations and Social Media Specialist.


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