“‘Where Did You Get That Book?’ Freckle Survey Investigates the Role of Libraries and Reading in American Culture”
The Freckle Report is a survey and review of consumer reading habits. Since 2019, the Freckle Report releases a full report of the ways in which consumer reading habits are changing and the role books play in American culture. Freckle Report has just released its half-year check-in survey, performed in conjunction with support from EveryLibrary Institute, a national policy think tank for libraries.
“The Freckle Survey helps the public understand the role that libraries play in reading and literacy. This most recent survey shows that libraries help put books in the hands of people,” said John Chrastka, Executive Director of EveryLibrary Institute. “There’s an ongoing misconception that libraries are becoming obsolete, but the survey shows that books and reading continue to be an important part of American culture. Moreover, libraries play a critical role in communities and the culture of reading.”
The April 2022 Freckle Project survey asked 667 adults in the United States a key question: “Where did you get that book?” The answers about where people source their books and how they utilize print, ebooks, and audiobooks continue to evolve.
High-level findings include:
- Nearly 90% of adults report using or reading a book in the prior 12 months.
- 57% of books are read in print and 43% are in ebook or audiobook formats. This is a significant shift from pre-COVID levels where 76% of books were utilized in print.
- Audiobooks as a percentage of digital interactions have increased from only 4% in April 2019 to 16% in April 2022.
- Library utilization continues to be strong with 18% of readers sourcing their print and digital from the library.
- Readers have shifted dramatically to online retailers as their primary source for reading and books (43%) with negative changes to people getting books from bricks-and-mortar retail (15%) and friends and family (15%).
- Fully 55% of people who self-report using a library in the last 12 months used it to read or borrow books. A further 17% reported using the library to research or study.
A recording of a conversation between Tim Coates, principal researcher for the Freckle Project, and John Chrastka, the EveryLibrary Institute’s executive director, is available for review.
“Libraries continue to lift people up, supplying them with reading material, research material and other resources,” said Mr. Chrastka. “And we should continue to support libraries in our communities.”
About Gary Price
Gary Price (firstname.lastname@example.org) is a librarian, writer, consultant, and frequent conference speaker based in the Washington D.C. metro area. He earned his MLIS degree from Wayne State University in Detroit. Price has won several awards including the SLA Innovations in Technology Award and Alumnus of the Year from the Wayne St. University Library and Information Science Program. From 2006-2009 he was Director of Online Information Services at Ask.com. Gary is also the co-founder of infoDJ an innovation research consultancy supporting corporate product and business model teams with just-in-time fact and insight finding.