Daniel Boone Regional Library Adapting to E-Book Trend

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COLUMBIA - People go to the Daniel Boone County Library for a multitude of reasons.

Seth Colaner says he makes the trip to browse the stacks and attend events with his daughter Esther.

"You can just go to one of the stacks and you never know what you might find," said Colaner.

But now readers can borrow books from the library without even leaving home. The Daniel Boone County Library has incorporated e-books into it's collection which is part of a growing trend in the country. According to a new Pew Research Center publication, tablets and e-readers are becoming ever more popular. And with that seemingly obvious observation comes another realization, the amount of Americans reading e-books has also increased. The study says that one-fifth, or 21 percent of adults read an e-book in the past year. 

As readers switch to digital, both libraries and publishing companies are trying to keep up. In January of last year the library began its e-book service for mobile devices by introducing 700 titles. Now, approximately a year later, the library has about 4,000 titles.

But according to Doyne McKenzie, the Collections Manager at Boone County Regional Library, publishing companies are still trying to figure out how to manage their e-book selections.

"Publishers are in crisis right now," said McKenzie. "I mean this is a very hard time for them. They're trying to figure out what's happening. They're trying to figure out about the e-book industry and how to handle it."

Not all books are produced in the digital format and some publishing companies have made the decision not to sell to libraries.

McKenzie said this has made things tricky to get some books. A few weeks ago Random House publishing increased the amount each book costs. For example, the Daniel Boone Regional Library bought the e-book "Behind the Beautiful Flowers" by Katherine Boo for $27. Now it costs $81 for a library to obtain. And Penguin publishing used to sell e-books to libraries to rent to the community. However, the company made the decision to no longer sell e-books to libraries, even though it still produces e-books and sells them on Amazon.

McKenzie said there are multiple reasons for this. For one, publishers feel that e-books will not get readers into the libraries, making it less likely the reader will buy the book after they finish it. But she also says libraries and publishing companies should be working on the same team.

"Libraries and publishers are really in a partnership and I don't think the publishers realize that," said McKenzie.

The Pew research study also says that tablet and e-reader owners report reading more since the introduction of e-content.