King County Library System leads nation in digital checkouts — again

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A trip to the library these days doesn’t require silence, or even a car ride.

More and more people locally are opting for digital content, like eBooks or audiobooks, that they can checkout and download from the comfort of their own home.

The King County Library System led the nation in digital checkouts in 2018 for the fifth year in a row, and Seattle Public Libraries ranked sixth in the U.S.

"The Puget Sound area is an area that likes to read,” said Lisa Rosenblum, executive director of the King County Library System. “I would say that we have invested quite a bit of our budget into digital downloads because we reflect what our community wants."

Rosenblum says they’ve seen a big increase in audio material being checked out lately, perhaps because of the area’s long commute times.

“People love to listen to books in their car,” she said.

Rakuten OverDrive, the digital platform used by both librarie systems, said King County had more than 4.8 million digital checkouts last year, which was a 23 percent increase from 2017.

Seattle libraries had 2.8 million digital checkouts and there were a total of 65 library systems worldwide to break the 1 million mark, the company said.

“The greater Seattle area consistently ranks among the most well-read in America reflecting an educated and tech-savvy population that keeps turning to eBooks and other digital resources our collection has to offer,” Rosenblum said.

The top 5 titles borrowed through King County Library System's digital collection in 2018:

  1. Origin by Dan Brown
  2. The Rooster Bar by John Grisham
  3. Little Fires Everywhere by Celeste Ng
  4. The Midnight Line by Lee Child
  5. Wonder by R. J. Palacio
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