Tuesday, April 24, 2012

Library use and buying behavior in Douglas County

[Click on the image to expand.]

The above is from a series of surveys, conducted by JVA Consulting, LLC, at the end of 2011, and during the first part of 2012. JVA questioned more than 3959 community and staff members (the results are still being tallied) about a host of library issues. The key takeaway from the above slide was this: "Borrowing patterns vary greatly by subgroup. However, purchasing and obtaining books elsewhere remains equal among groups."

Note: in this case, "non-user" means "uses once a month or less." "Non-supporter" means "would be unlikely to vote for a library funding increase."

Does using the library mean that you buy more books? In Douglas County, apparently not. Regular readers are no more likely to buy books than non-library users. On the other hand, they are no less likely. Using the library doesn't steal anybody's sales. The library probably does have an effect on which books they buy, though.

And note a third point: while we didn't stop anybody from buying books, the library bought a heck of a lot of them on top of those sales. P.S. Now that we have added a "click to buy" button in our catalog, as well as a recommendation engine for new titles, I would anticipate that library users would buy MORE than others. But we'll see.


waltc said...

An interesting study. On the other hand, I'm a little surprised at the definition of "non-user."

I mean, I know "power user" apparently requires visiting the library every week...but I never thought picking up new books once a month would reduce me to non-user status.

Jamie said...

At first, we were kind of surprised, too. But as I understand it, JVA saw a significant break in the use pattern, and saw those "seldom users" as more statistically like "non-users."

Jamie said...

I should have gone back to update this. It turns out that the statistical analysis revealed something further: the more you use the library, the more ebooks you buy.

jlarue.com - Welcome

In November of 2018, I left my position at ALA in Chicago to return to my Colorado-based writing, speaking, and consulting career. So I'...