Everybody’s e-reading or e-listening

Many libraries in the UK are planning to increase their e-books collections in 2009, according to a recent survey by OCLC (the online computer library centre). Almost all (85%) of public libraries that responded expressed an interest in developing a fiction e-book collection, even though most usage of e-books so far has been of research and reference titles. (And 65 % of respondents are planning to increase their e-audio book collections.) According to an Outsell industry report on the survey, this response is puzzling because so far in the UK, most interest in the e-book format has been in reference works and textbooks. Although the Sony e-reader has been so successful in the UK that you can't get one for about a year, and the Amazon Kindle has yet to be sold here, various digital publishers are quoted as being excited about the mobile format —  which means that people will not have to buy a dedicated e-reader. I wrote the other week about Random House's greatly increased POD (print on demand) programme, and here is Sara Lloyd of Pan Macmillan enthusing about the i-phone, on which you can read extracts of some of the publisher's books. (More details about the books available and how to use the format are here.) I still feel it isn't me – but clearly, e-reading and e-listening are going to be increasingly popular with many, even for fiction.