Building an eBook Collection That Torontonians Will Love
Torontonians’ love affair with books isn’t news to those of us who work at the library.
As the world’s busiest urban public library system, Toronto Public Library circulated 33 million items last year alone. Our customers borrow all sorts of things: books (in various formats and languages), magazines, DVDs, CDs, musical scores and more.
One format, in particular, has experienced a huge surge in demand. I’m sure you have all guessed by now that I’m referring to eBooks. Last year, customers borrowed 523,270 eBooks - a whopping 103% increase over 2010 circulation. It’s likely that this upward trend will continue.
Our eBook collection has evolved tremendously since 1999, when it mainly consisted of streamed reference and academic titles. Since then, the selection of titles available to libraries has greatly expanded and we’re now able to offer our public both fiction and nonfiction titles in a variety of formats, reading levels and languages.
Collecting “everything” is a tall order and it will take many years to build an electronic collection that has the richness and depth of our print collection. We monitor bestseller lists, publisher lists, lists of classics and review media to find titles that we think will be of interest to you.
Our customers are encouraged to make eBook title suggestions through our Answerline service. This has been a valuable way to discover what our eBook customers like to read and to get feedback on the collection as a whole.
Although we'd like to fulfill all our customer requests for eBook titles, this is not always possible. The main issue is that the supply of eBook titles available to libraries is still quite limited despite the great strides that have been made since the early days of eBooks. This issue is clearly explained in this New York Times article.
Libraries around the world are actively working with publishers to try and find a solution that is mutually beneficial to both parties. If you'd like to find out more about what Toronto Public Library and other Canadian libraries are doing to help improve access to eBooks, check out this summary from the Canadian Urban Libraries Council.
I hope you will take some time to look at our eBook collection and let us how we can improve the content in order to create a collection that Torontonians will love. Please sound off in the comments below.
What do Torontonians like to read in electronic format?
The short answer is: Everything! Check out the Recently Returned section in OverDrive to get a peek at what people have just finished reading. We have some terrific titles in our collection.
Below are some of this month’s hot titles. Visit our Downloads & eBooks page for more titles - and to learn how to get started using our eCollection. Please enjoy!