Good news for librarians. A majority of children age 6-17 have never read an ebook. Scholastic today released their biannual Kids & Family Reading Report and it showed that only 46 percent of kids had read an electronic version of a book before.
Of course, librarians are never happy to hear about kids that haven’t read a book before. They would love nothing more than to get the entire world embracing voracious reading at a young age. However, the format that people are reading is definitely something librarians do care about.
The transition to ebooks from print books has been extremely challenging for libraries. Most libraries have a very limited selection of ebooks compared to print books. For example, the New York Public Library has roughly 35,000 ebook titles available for patrons to borrow. By comparison, they have over 20 million print books in their collections.
The core problem with ebooks for libraries has to do with the publishers. The book publishers have not figured out a business model for lending ebooks at libraries. Only two of the Big Six publishers allow libraries to loan out all of their ebooks as if they were print books. The other publishers have imposed crippling restrictions such as higher prices, limited selections and ebooks that expire.
So for now, librarians are happy to hear that the majority of kids still haven’t read an ebook – as long as they are still reading print books.