The Association of American Publishers reports eBooks were the number one format for adult fiction titles for the first time ever last year. But while digital books are convenient for readers, they do present challenges for some. Sarah Blazonis reports.
SYRACUSE, N.Y. -- The way people read may be changing, but officials with the Onondaga County Library say adapting is just a matter of following a longtime principle.
"We look at how people live their lives every day. How can we help them live their life better?" said the library's executive director, Elizabeth Dailey.
Lately, that's meant keeping up with eBooks' growing popularity. The Association of American Publishers reports sales doubled for the format from 2010-2011.
Not only does the library offer fiction books in its e-collection, it recently added 70 reference titles not normally available for check out.
"We believe that resources that we've always purchased and are still being published in print and in e should be available. So, if people aren't coming in quite as much, now they can access these from home," said librarian Shanti Shoemaker.
And while having the information in books like this right at the tip of your fingers is convenient for readers, eBooks are creating challenges for publishers.
Syracuse University Press offers more than 400 of its titles electronically. The press's director says converting manuscripts to eBooks is fairly easy. It's the sale and distribution that can be tricky.
"If you want to do something with Barnes and Noble or a mobile device, you need to code those differently and that is a greater expense," said S.U. Press Director Alice Pfeiffer.
Library officials say navigating the new marketplace has also been a challenge for them. They say publishers traditionally use a special business model when dealing with typical books.
"That model is one that we loved because it discounted materials that went to libraries. That hasn't been achieved yet in the eBook realm," said Dailey
Actual stores are still the number one method of book sales, totaling more than $1 billion last year, suggesting there's time to work through the new technology's growing pains.
You can view the library's eBook collection at www.onlib.org.