Dutch libraries lend fewer books but e-books rise in popularity

The public library in central Amsterdam. Photo: Depositphotos.com

Fewer people are borrowing physical library books but digital books are rising in popularity, according to new figures on libraries in the Netherlands.

Last year, people borrowed 2.8 million e-books from libraries, a rise of 74% on 2015. But the total is still far outstripped by the 68 million physical books which were borrowed. Nevertheless, borrowing has declined steadily since a peak of 184 million in 1989.

The CBS and national library association Koninklijke Bibliotheek say the shift in lending patterns reflects changes in the way people spend their spare time. ‘Reading printed media has declined in popularity since the beginning of the 1990s and the use of computers and internet has gone up,’ they said in a statement.

The Netherlands has 156 public libraries scattered around the country, with a total of 3.7 million members.

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