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EBook readers look on the bright side during lockdown

Published: 2 September 2020

If it’s any reflection on how we feel, eBook and eAudiobook titles with the biggest uptake during Auckland’s Alert Level 3 restrictions were side-splittingly funny.

Auckland Council Libraries report that their most popular eBook was: ‘Funny Ha, Ha: 80 of the Funniest Stories Ever Written’ and the most popular eAudiobook was: ‘The Subtle Art of Not Giving a F*ck: A Counterintuitive Approach to Living a Good Life’.

The total number of eBook checkouts from 12 to 26 August was 108,587 and the total number of eAudiobooks issued was 36,949. Total uptake was 48 per cent higher than the same 15 days last year.

Auckland Mayor Phil Goff said it was great to see Aucklanders making full use of their libraries’ digital offerings over the lockdown.

“It’s not surprising that at a time of crisis people were choosing something light-hearted and fun to read,” he said.

“Our libraries are a great asset used by up to 250,000 people a week in normal times, and people were quick to adapt to using eBooks when they couldn’t get physical access under Level 3.

"Now that we’re back at Level 2, libraries have reopened — with safety measures in place — so I encourage Aucklanders to once again enjoy the full range of services they offer.

“Even with the challenges that losing $450 million in revenue during the lockdown has caused the council, we have prioritised our spending to keep our libraries open and meeting the needs of Aucklanders,” said Phil Goff.

eBooks and eAudiobools are free with library membership. It’s simple to sign up for an Auckland Libraries eMembership. It takes a couple of easy steps.

10millionth eBook makes history

Aucklander Sarid Olvera Anzures, originally from Tulancingo in Mexico, downloaded an eBook on her phone in early August, unaware she had just borrowed the 10 millionth eBook from Auckland Council Libraries on their Overdrive platform.

With Sarid’s eBook loan, Auckland became the first library system in the Southern Hemisphere and the fourth library system in the world to reach 10 million checkouts in OverDrive’s history.

The title Sarid borrowed was The Warmth of Other Suns: the epic story of America’s great migration by Isabel Wilkerson which tells one of the great untold stories of American history: the decades-long migration of black citizens who fled the South for northern and western cities, in search of a better life.

Sarid said: “I read e-books because it means I don’t need to carry a big book with me everywhere I go. I just need my phone and nothing else. I borrowed it to help understand more about African Americans. I am an immigrant myself and believe that by understanding others I’ll understand my own process better."

 

Read more: Libraries

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