Tennessee State Seal
State Library and Archives Says E-Book Use Up 77 Percent
(Published: July 17, 2012)

The Tennessee State Library and Archives is proud to announce the popularity of the Regional E-book and Audio Download System (READS) Program over the last fiscal year.

READS is a free program that offers thousands of digital e-books and audio books to patrons of public libraries that belong to the Tennessee Regional Library System with the simple click of a mouse. Digital titles can be downloaded to a personal computer or a variety of portable devices.

"This program offers patrons young and old an opportunity to enjoy the experience of reading their own way, from their own homes, at any time," Secretary of State Tre Hargett said. "This program is beneficial to not only patrons, but also to libraries seeking to better serve their communities by offering creative ways to share their resources outside the library walls. I am proud of the success of this great service."

The program began in 2005, primarily with audio books. As e-readers and smartphones have become cheaper and easier to use, the popularity of e-books has grown rapidly. READS was originally limited to MP3 players and a short list of e-readers, but now titles are available to download to almost any portable device.

"Tennesseans' use of e-books through the Regional Library System is increasing at an extremely rapid rate," State Librarian and Archivist Chuck Sherrill said. "At the same time, use of the physical library continues to grow. Libraries are challenged by having to budget for both traditional services - books on paper - and digital formats."

The total number of books downloaded across the state in the 2011-2012 fiscal year was 701,506 - a 77 percent increase over the previous fiscal year. In June 2012, 65 percent of the books downloaded were e-books and 35 percent were audio books.

"In a survey conducted in October 2011, we found that 68 percent of our users are over 40 years old, with almost 22 percent over the age of 60," READS Administrator Marion Bryant said. "Thirty three percent of our users have a household income of $50,000 or less. What I find most remarkable about that is that many digital readers have not been library users in the past. Libraries are attracting a new group of readers with this format."

What you need to participate in the READS program:

For more information on the READS program, please visit www.tn.gov/tsla/lps/READS/reads.htm or contact Marion Bryant at 931-388-9282.