Library Ebook Trends on Google

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When discussing ebook use in libraries I was reminded by @ShedSue of Google Trends. This service allows you to enter keywords/search terms and presents you with statistics about how commonly those keywords are used in Google searches. Sue had already presented some stats on ebooks using it, but I put together a rough report of keywords that people might use when looking for ebooks in the UK, focusing on “ebooks”; “downloaded ebooks”; “free ebooks”; “library ebooks” searches. I really wanted to see how commonly the phrase “library ebooks” featured ie how often people searched for that phrase compared to the others – it didn’t do very well. In fact it came a distant last to all of the other keyword searches.

The Google Trends report for each of the keyword searches also provided a list of related keywords that people searched for as well as that keyword. eg When people searched for “ebooks” they also searched for the following:

  • ebooks free
  • ebooks download
  • ebook
  • ebooks kindle
  • kindle
  • ebooks for free
  • free books
  • amazon ebooks
  • ebooks uk
  • free ebook

Alongside these related keywords the report also featured “Rising searches” ie those related keyword searches that were increasing in popularity. eg For “ebooks” they were:

  • amazon ebooks
  • ebooks kindle
  • kindle
  • kindle ebooks free
  • ebooks for free
  • ebooks uk
  • pdf ebooks
  • ebooks download
  • ebook
  • free books

In all of the related keyword and rising search results for  “ebooks”; “downloaded ebooks” and “free ebooks”, the thing that struck me the most was that the keyword “library” didn’t appear once. “free” did, plenty of times. – but no sign of “library”.

Also, even though related and rising search results from the “library ebooks” search retrieved phrases containing the word “library” in them, there were still plenty of references to other non-library searches that highlighted people were also searching for similar keywords/phrases used in the other 3 searches. However, when searching in the other 3 ways (“ebooks”; “downloaded ebooks” and “free ebooks”) people didn’t automatically consider searching for the phrase “library ebooks”.

So, it appears that even though people in the UK are looking for ebooks via the internet, they’re not really considering libraries as a place to find them. If they were wouldn’t we see “library ebooks” appearing in the related keyword search lists?

If we are to develop ebook services in UK libraries shouldn’t we be aiming to push “library ebooks” higher up those related keyword search lists? The higher it is, the more likely our ebook library services will feature in Google search results and the more we will draw people to our library websites and to the many other library services we have on offer alongside our ebook services.

The report I pulled together can be found here.

Here’s a live link to the Google Trends page these searches generated.

Disclaimer: These are just initial thoughts off the top of my head and any further input on this would be appreciated.

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