Top eBook, eAudiobook titles borrowed from Edmonton Public Library in 2019

Edmonton Public Library releases top 2019 checkouts for eBooks and eAudiobooks
WATCH ABOVE: Edmonton Public Library has released the list of its most checked-out eBooks and eAudiobooks last year. Emily Mertz explains.

2019 was another record year for Edmonton Public Library.

“We saw over 1.5 million checkouts… between both eBooks and eAudiobooks in total,” said Bethany Arsenault, EPL’s digital discovery librarian. “This is our third year reaching over the one-million mark.”

She believes the trend speaks volumes about accessibility and the demand for on-demand, multi-form content.

“Customers wanting that fast access, that easy access to content. They can download books right on their phone, right from their couch. They don’t have to go out into the cold weather right now. It says a lot about wanting to get that content right now, easily accessible, equitably accessible.”

READ MORE: Cost of ebooks, audiobooks ‘not a sustainable model’ for Canadian libraries, council says

When it comes to total digital circulation, EPL is the #10 public library system in the world.

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EPL is one of the 73 library systems around the world that surpassed one million digital checkouts.

In 2019, the top-circulating genre was romance.

Top 5 eBook titles borrowed through EPL in 2019:

1. Becoming by Michelle Obama

2. Crazy Rich Asians by Kevin Kwan

3. Past Tense by Lee Child

4. Origin by Dan Brown

5. Educated by Tara Westover

Top 5 eAudiobook titles borrowed through EPL in 2019:

1. Becoming by Michelle Obama

2. The Subtle Art of Not Giving a F**k by Mark Manson

3. Crazy Rich Asians by Kevin Kwan

4. Girl, Wash Your Face by Rachel Hollis

5. Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone by J.K. Rowling

Edmonton Public Library fundraising $10M for downtown
Edmonton Public Library fundraising $10M for downtown

“Our top title in both eBook and eAudiobook this year was Becoming by Michelle Obama,” Arsenault said. “We kind of expected to see that. As soon as book is talked about on Oprah and is one of Oprah’s Book Club, we expect to see a lot of buzz generated.”

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This is the first time in several years, however, one title took the top spot on both eBook and eAudiobook lists, Arsenault said.

READ MORE: EPL joins other public libraries across North America to protest publisher’s ebook restrictions

As for 2020, EPL will continue its advocacy for the eBooksForAll campaign, which includes pushing back on an eBook restriction on libraries by major publisher Macmillan.

As of Nov. 1, all public libraries, regardless of size, are only able to buy one copy of any new Macmillan eBook release and has to wait eight weeks before it can buy additional copies.

Mayors, U.S. Congress wade into eBook issue between publisher and libraries
Mayors, U.S. Congress wade into eBook issue between publisher and libraries

“We see a lot more holds on Macmillan books so it’s causing the wait times to be longer,”  Arsenault explained.

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“One of the Macmillan books is a Nora Roberts book. It has over 314 holds so the wait time on it is 16 weeks. We have a couple of other Macmillan books where the wait time is up to six months. So basically, the less access you have to a book, the longer you’re going to have to wait for it.”

READ MORE: Publishers’ embargo on ebooks ‘could be crippling’ to Edmonton libraries

EPL is also anticipating a shiny new addition.

“We’re excited for our [Stanley] Milner [Library branch] opening soon,” Arsenault said. “That’s a big project coming up.”

READ MORE: Edmonton’s Stanley A. Milner Library delayed; no date set for opening