Library Market Size, Spending, Forecast, and Trends: 2018 Management Consulting

Author: Kate Worlock

Date: September 25, 2018


In this report, Outsell sizes and segments the content spending of the $30.2 billion global library market and analyzes the trends affecting it. This is Outsell’s eighth update; the original report was the first to detail the global library market for all types of libraries and information centers. Outsell provides forecasts and compound annual growth rates (CAGRs) for library content spending through 2018 and total available market (TAM) information for the publishers and information providers who sell into this space.

This report also covers the demand for content among the following library types in North America, Latin America, Europe, Asia Pacific, and the Middle East and Africa: corporate, academic, school (K-12), public, government, nonprofit, and healthcare. The report is a tool for publishers and information providers who target the library market and seek to understand its regional and vertical dynamics.


Outsell comprehensively scans available data on libraries worldwide and indicators of how much they spend on information. We then evaluate that data to build our market models and use estimates to fill in any gaps.

Outsell bases the estimates of change in each market segment on an analysis of library spending patterns from Outsell’s Information Industry Database, data from our annual Information Management Benchmark studies that capture spending data from libraries, and input from Outsell analysts who report on the library sector. This benchmark and spending data spans nearly 20 years of research.

The current update incorporates data from the benchmark survey completed in February 2018, which included questions on current and future spending by libraries across content types. A total of 216 information managers responded to the survey. For sector segments with a small number of respondents, the data is not fully representative and should be considered directional in nature.

Outsell also collates publicly available data on the library market from a wide range of third parties, including:

  • American Library Association (ALA)
  • American Library Directory (published by Information Today, Inc.)
  • Australian Bureau of Statistics
  • Brazil School Census
  • Canadian Library Association
  • Chartered Institute of Public Finance and Accountancy (United Kingdom)
  • CONACULTA (Mexico)
  • Council of Australian University Librarians
  • Deutscher Bibliotheksverband e.V. (Germany)
  • Encyclopedia of Library and Information Sciences (published by Taylor & Francis)
  • France National Education
  • German Library Statistics
  • Institute of Museum and Library Services (US)
  • Instituto Centrale del Catalogo Unico (Italy)
  • Instituto Nacional de Estadística (Spain)
  • Instituto Nacional de Estadística, Geografía e Informática (Mexico)
  • International Federation of Library Associations (IFLA)
  • Japan Library Association
  • Japan Special Libraries Association
  • Korean Library Association
  • Libraries and Information Services in the United Kingdom and Republic of Ireland
  • Libraries Canada (published by Grey House Publishing Canada)
  • Ministère de la Culture et de la Communication (France)
  • National and State Libraries Australasia
  • National Bureau of Statistics of China
  • National Center for Education Statistics (US)
  • Online Computer Library Center, Inc. (OCLC)
  • Rossiskaya natsionalnaya biblioteka (Russia)
  • UNESCO Institute for Statistics
  • World Guide to Libraries (published by Walter de Gruyter GmbH)

Outsell Inc. Library Market Size, Spending, Forecast, and Trends: 2018 Management Consulting


Why This Topic 4

Methodology 4

Market Definition 6

Library Market Size and Growth 7

Number of Libraries by Type and Geography 11

Spending by Library Type and Region 12

Content Spending Growth by Library Type 15

Library Content Spending by Information Type: Selected Library Types 16

Library Market Drivers and Trends 18

Essential Actions for Vendors 19

Related Research 20

About Outsell 21


Figure 1. Global Library Market, 2013-2018 7

Figure 2. Global Content Spending by Library Type, 2018 ($B) 9

Figure 3. Global Content Spending CAGR by Library Type, 2013-2018 9

Figure 4. Yearly Growth in Content Spending by Library Type, 2013-2018 10

Figure 5. Global Library Content Spending by Region, 2018 ($B) 12

Figure 6. Library Budget Allocation 14

Figure 7. Global Library Content Spending by Key Content Formats for Corporate, Government, and Academic Libraries, 2018 17


Table 2. Estimated Number of Libraries by Type and Geography, 2018 11

Table 3. Content Spending by Library Type and Geography, 2018 ($B) 13

Table 4. Content Spending Projections by Library Type, 2013-2018 ($B) 15

Table 5. Libraries’ Allocation of Content Budgets by Type of Information, 2018 16

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