Provisional figures from the Dutch online Library show that in 2022, library members borrowed considerably more audio books than in the previous year. In 2022, almost 2.1 million audio books were borrowed via the online Library, compared to 1.9 million in 2021. The figures seem to show that young members also enjoy audio books: 35% of the audio books borrowed in 2022 were youth titles. The number of e-books borrowed (over 5.3 million) is approximately the same as the year before.

After a growth spurt during the COVID-19 pandemic in 2020, the number of borrowed e-books has now stabilised. Last year, that figure was almost 82,000 less than the 5.4 million e-books that were borrowed in 2021. This figure was over 5.6 million in 2020. ‘We’re talking about a slight drop of 1.5 percent’, explains Lieke Hoefs, online Library coordinator at KB National Library of the Netherlands. ‘By comparison: in 2019 almost 3.9 million e-books were borrowed. So I believe we can safely say that the rise in digital reading and listening prompted by the COVID-pandemic has continued.’  

More online Library accounts 

The number of people with an account with the online Library also rose last year. There are now some 524,000 accounts, compared with 435,000 in 2021. The number of children up to the age of 12 with an account rose from 144,000 to 180,000. 12 to 18-year-olds are still more difficult to reach. The online Library sees encouraging these young people to read and listen to books as an important priority. A new campaign due to be launched soon focuses on pupils in pre-vocational secondary school and students in vocational education.