Presumably this means that patrons are consuming books more quickly in digital format than on paper -- a curious observation. Why would this be? I was on a plane recently, reading "The Big Short" on my NOOK Color. I know that most people believe LCD screens are more difficult to read on than paper, but having got nearly half-way through the book in two days -- an almost unprecedented event for me in recent years owing to my schedule -- I couldn't help but wonder if I was actually reading faster on the screen than I do on paper. I would love for someone to publish a study on the impact of various viewing devices (paper included) on reading speed and/or content retention.
As a writer, though, what really caught my eye in OverDrive's document was this:
eBook titles are often the same best sellers you see in The New York Times or on Amazon.com. However,
across all OverDrive libraries (and consistently over time), romance has been the most popular subject.
Romance readers consume many eBooks and return to their library’s ‘Virtual Branch’ again and again. The chart at the right illustrates the loyalty of romance eBook readers."
If these patrons were average top volume readers and not hand-selected specifically for their romance title borrowing, the implications are stunning. Those who read most read romance. Admittedly, romance novels may be quicker reads than the average non-romance, but this is still a prodigious consumption rate within a certain genre, and it makes a clear point: Even if you don't write romance, having strong romantic elements in your stories is imperative if you want to reach the broadest possible audience.