Publishers Weekly recently reported on a survey conducted by Library Journal which concludes that libraries are a powerful economic engine for the book business. Anecdotally, we've always believed this, and we've scoffed when publishers claimed that sales to libraries cut their profits because people would borrow books instead of buying them. Nonsense!
In fact, libraries BOOST book sales. Over 50% of library users report purchasing books by an author they were introduced to in the library! The survey confirmed that public libraries are an active partner with the publishing industry in building the book and e-book markets.
Plus, in addition to the billions of $$$ libraries spend buying books for their collections, these books in turn spur individual readers to buy more books. With the release of this survey, "publishers now have the first really broad, deep look at what library users do with books...and perhaps more importantly---what library users do with their wallets outside of libraries."
Library users are avid readers, listeners, and talkers, and the library is an important part of a rich ecosystem of cultural exchange that is seamlessly connected to the publishing marketplace.
PW's accompanying charts of data are also very enlightening. If you'd like to read the whole article, ask for the October 31 Publishers Weekly issue at the circulation desk!