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Q: Books borrowed vs. books bought each year ( Answered 5 out of 5 stars,   0 Comments )
Subject: Books borrowed vs. books bought each year
Category: Miscellaneous
Asked by: pogueman-ga
List Price: $9.50
Posted: 30 Sep 2003 17:11 PDT
Expires: 30 Oct 2003 16:11 PST
Question ID: 261706
How many books do Americans buy each year, vs. how many do they borrow
from libraries? (Thanks!)
Subject: Re: Books borrowed vs. books bought each year
Answered By: bobbie7-ga on 30 Sep 2003 20:30 PDT
Rated:5 out of 5 stars
Hello pogueman-ga,

According to the U.S. Census Bureau, Americans buy 2.4-billion books a

Profile America: July 30th. 

“Today, in spite of the competition of television and computers, some
2.4-billion books are sold in the U.S. each year, more than
6-out-of-10 of them paperbacks. Because of their higher cost, hardback
editions bring in more money, outselling paperbacks 19-billion to
13-billion dollars.”

U.S. Census Bureau: Public Information Office


According to State library data 2001–2002, libraries loan
1,947,600,000 items a year.

“The report, Libraries: How they stack up, provides a snapshot of the
economic impact of libraries. The report contains some interesting
comparisons of library economics and activities to other sectors,
professions and destinations in the worldwide economy.”

U.S. libraries circulate 1,947,600,000 items a year

Public libraries
1,772,000,000 Circulation (lent to patrons)
39,500,000 Interlibrary loan
1,811,500,000 Total (State library data 2001–2002)

Academic libraries
122,000,000 Circulation
14,100,000 Interlibrary loan
136,100,000 Total (ACRL 2001)

Source: OCLC Online Computer Library Center, Inc.

The number I cited above (1,947,600,000) includes not only books, but
also compact discs, videos, books on tape and other materials.

An article in the Cincinnati Post states that books account for 68
percent of the loaned items in libraries.

Therefore, a good estimate would be that 1,324,368,000 books are
loaned every year in the U.S.

The Cincinnati Post


According to the American Library Association, Americans check out an
average of more than six books a year.
U.S. Population 292,217,861 
Census Bureau

Given the above numbers another estimate would be that Americans
borrow   1,753,307,266 books a year.


Another reliable source for library information would be the 149 page
report published by National Center for Education Statistics in June
of this year.

Public Libraries in the United States: Fiscal Year 2001  
Cover Date:  June 2003  


“This report includes national and state summary data on public
libraries in the 50 states, the District of Columbia, and the outlying
areas for state fiscal year 2001, with highlights and numerous tables.
Data are included on circulation, library visits, reference
transactions, interlibrary loans, children's program attendance,
service outlets, public service hours, Internet access, staff, income,
expenditures, and more.”

“Total nationwide circulation of public library materials was 1.8
billion, or 6.5 materials circulated per capita”

Table 4 (page 35)
Number of public library services and library services per capita or
per 1,000 population, by type of service and by state: Fiscal year
National Center for Education Statistics


In conclusion, the number of books that Americans purchase is
significantly higher than the number of books borrowed from libraries.

Search Criteria:

* billion books are sold each year in the U.S.
Americans buy * billion "books a year"
* books are borrowed from U.S. libraries each year
Books account for *  percent of the loaned items.
Book loans account for *  percent of loaned items U.S. libraries
library circulations per capita
U.S. library book circulation statistic
library book  "circulation per capita"
Library Book Circulation per Capita
U.S. libraries loan  * billion books every year

I hope you find this information useful. If anything is unclear or if
a link does not function, please let me know and I’ll be glad to offer
further assistance.

Best regards,
pogueman-ga rated this answer:5 out of 5 stars
Spectacular, quick work. Just what I needed! Thanks!

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