More than 20,000 e-books were borrowed from Scottish libraries last year as loans of traditional books fell for the third year.

Less than 24 million books were loaned from libraries in Scotland for the first time last year, figures from the Public Lending Right (PLR) body show.

However, despite library closures and the availability of cheaper paperbacks, e-book loans have boomed, with 20,014 downloaded last year in Scotland and more than 560,000 in the UK.

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The top 10 most borrowed books in Scotland demonstrate the nation's fondness for crime fiction and thrillers, with the most popular library books being all of that genre, featuring works by Harlen Coben, Jo Nesbø and John Grisham.

In total, 23.9 million books were loaned from public libraries in Scotland from 2011 to 2012, compared to 25 million in 2010-11 and 25.7 million in 2009-10.

Children's fiction rose from 5.4 million in 2009-10 to 5.6 million last year.

Overall, the US thriller writer James Patterson is the most borrowed author in libraries across the UK for the sixth year running.

Across the UK, total book loans have fallen from 309 million in 2009-10 to 287.5 million in 2011-12.

Dr Jim Parker, the registrar of PLR, said the Scottish figures show not only is the nation's enthusiasm for crime fiction still healthy, but there is potential for e-book loans to grow further in the future.

He said: "The fact is that in the last 20 years the borrowing of books from libraries has seen a downward trend. However, there are still millions of books being borrowed every year.

"But it's the result of people doing different things in their spare time, the availability of cheaper books, and the market changing."