Pandemic prompts Quebec’s bookworms to show to e-books

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The COVID-19 pandemic has resulted in a sharp increase in the number of Quebecers borrowing e-books from their local libraries.

According to a survey by the National Association of Public Libraries, e-book loans rose 117 percent from March to June, and the number of new users of the platform rose 175 percent.

Children’s e-books are even more popular – the number of loans has increased 482 percent and the number of audio book loans has increased more than 550 percent.

Libraries across the province had to close in mid-March during the spring closure and were allowed to reopen on May 29.

The Association of Bibliothèques Publiques du Québec includes 318 public libraries across the province, serving 84 percent of Quebecers. Its president Denis Chouinard says while printed books still make up the bulk of library holdings, e-books are gaining ground.

He said a lot of people use both formats – e-books on the go and physical books for example at home.

But Chouinard also said he wouldn’t be surprised if e-books continued to be popular even after normalization.

Libraries in Quebec’s red zones have been closed for events since the beginning of the month, but users can still reserve and borrow physical books.

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