Recently, the Pew Internet & American Life folks released this about ebook lending at public libraries. It’s part of their Libraries, patrons, and E-books report.
Here’s the pull-out quote: “Most Americans are unaware of e-book lending at their local public library.” Then it goes on to the stats: 76% of public libraries lend ebooks … and most Americans really don’t know if their library has them.
I know. There’s a lot in the current ebook/publisher/distributor landscape that you can’t really change at the moment. Yes, yes, together we can and probably will create some ebook changes.
But for now, your single library can’t change the price of an ebook to a fairer price; you can’t get 27 checkouts from HarperCollins books; and you can’t call up Penguin and beg them to sell you ebooks, even though they don’t sell to libraries … and have them cave in and make an exception in your case (well, unless you happen to be a large NYC library, perhaps).
But there is one thing … One Thing! One thing that you CAN do, and we apparently AREN’T DOING IT. And that’s actually telling people that you have ebooks that can be checked out. What’s up with that?
Guys, this is simple stuff … and putting up a link to Overdrive on your website does not count.
What can you do to tell your customers that your library has ebooks? Here are some starter ideas:
- link on your website
- big, bold ad on the main page of your site, above the fold
- a large sign in your library
- a couple of large signs in your library
- a billboard on a major road in town
- mention it in your events newsletter
- mention it in your enewsletter … with a link
- mention it in Twitter and Facebook. More than once.
- Send out a press release
- Get an interview in the newspaper, at local radio stations, and on the local TV news station.
Then rinse and repeat. You generally have to tell people more than once to make it “stick.”
So – those are some starter ideas. How about you? How have you successfully told your customers that you do, in fact, have ebooks? let’s share, and turn this silly pew statistic – this horribly pathetic Pew statistic – around.
photo by Nikkorsnapper