I got a kick out of this blog post from The Good Library:
“The figures are pretty plain
About 230m books are sold each year (from books shops, Amazon, mail order etc) . About half of these are read – the rest are gifts of one kind or another and aren’t generally read through. (These figures are widely recognised in the book trade- they are supported by statistics and surveys)
310m books are issued from public libraries – nearly all of which are read. (these figures come the national CIPFA survey data)
So, without over complicating the analysis it is pretty safe to say that betwen 60 and 70% of the books that are being read, today, come from a library.”
So libraries are important. The numbers above don’t take into account reading beyond books, or books shared outside of libraries, or books outside of public libraries such as college, academic, school and special libraries. But the number is a nice soundbite for conversation anyway.