Book Buying Survey 2012: Book Circ Takes A Hit|
Tight money and the rise of ebooks deflate the numbers With the economy still in the gutter, it’s hardly surprising that LJ’s 2012 Book Buying Survey of public libraries nationwide turned up a book budget decrease of more than two percent on average. Nor is it surprising that, as budgets are cut, some respondents have adapted their purchasing policies, particularly in the high-circ area of fiction. And with ebooks taking off, one might expect the materials budget breakdown to shift somewhat in their direction.
But it is a shock to discover that book circulation, having soared over the last decade, has suddenly gone flat.
Since 2002, book circulation has been this survey’s success story. Over the years, close to half or more of LJ’s respondents have reported increases of two, three, or four percent, with 2009 crowning the upsurge: fully 75 percent of respondents reported a circulation boom, with an overall increase of more than seven percent. Last year’s survey, covering 2010, saw a drop-off, with 40 percent of respondents entertaining increases for an overall 2.2 percent rise—still reasonably robust.