This paper aims to identify patterns, trends and potential implications related to post-checkout non-usage (material that is checked out by a user, but subsequently never…
This paper aims to identify patterns, trends and potential implications related to post-checkout non-usage (material that is checked out by a user, but subsequently never opened and/or downloaded) of library digital content.
A large urban Canadian public library’s data (2013-2017) from Rakuten OverDrive was analyzed. Pending items (items that are checked out, but neither opened nor downloaded) were compared with total checkouts to determine post-checkout non-usage rates.
Checkouts and overall rates of post-checkout non-usage of e-books and e-audiobooks have risen significantly and consistently. Juvenile and non-fiction e-books demonstrate higher post-checkout non-usage rates than adult and fiction e-books, respectively. The library spends up to US$10,700 per year on metered access e-books that are never opened by users. This number has grown significantly over the years.
E-materials in libraries have been growing rapidly, but their current lending models are still largely a direct application of concepts in traditional library services that have developed based on physical materials, such as checkouts, due dates, renewals, holds and wait times. However, e-materials do not have the limitation of physical materials that prevents other users from accessing a checked-out item, which makes many of the traditional concepts no longer applicable. New concepts and lending models should be developed that allow users to access any library e-materials at any time, and are financially functional and sustainable for both libraries and e-content providers.