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COVID-19 and eBooks: Fragmented Thoughts

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There’s worry in eBook land as COVID-19’s impact lingers. The headlines are revealing the angst of the pandemic’s impact on the world of books in general and eBooks in particular:

Let’s delve a bit into each of the headlines above.

Increased eBook Lending Popularity Leaves Publishers Worried, Librarians Still Dissatisfied

Writing Teleread on 3 Oct 2020, author Chris Meadows says that it’s “it’s time for [publishers] to start complaining again” since they haven’t for a few months. Publishers are worried about the increasing popularity of eBooks since the coronavirus outbreak in March. After libraries closed, Overdrive reported that eBook checkouts are up 52% over the same period as last year and Hoopla claims that 439 new libraries have joined its service since March, a 20% boost. This means that publishers worry that using libraries to borrow eBooks is cutting into book sales. All the while, librarians complain because they have to pay several time cover prices for eBooks that expire and have to be repurchased after a low number of checkouts. Sigh. Seems no one is happy is eBook land. Read the article for more details about the legal issue of eBook pricing for libraries.

European eBook, Audiobook Sales See Pandemic Pop

On 13 Aug 2020, Ed Nawotka writes in Wired that eBook and audiobook sales have been robust throughout the shutdown of many European bricks-and-mortar bookstores due Covid-19. A study of some two million digital transactions found e-book sales spiked 26% during the period of lockdown compared with the weeks prior to the order. Audiobook downloads more than doubled, seeing a 109% increase. And the report also suggests that eBooks “aren’t as dead as we read in reports for years.” Read the article for some interesting facts and figures and some nice charts showing what’s been going on in Europe. I didn’t notice much complaining in their eBook world.

Written by Larry S. Bonura

14 October 2020 at 09:59

Posted in Uncategorized

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