Availability is only part of e-book growth story

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A new white paper published by Springer has revealed a significant increase in e-book pages viewed and a decrease in pages printed.

The white paper draws on past studies and a new survey of users at Wellesley College, MA, USA to uncover insights for undergraduate librarians and institutions.

The results revealed that 73 per cent of faculty and 70 per cent of students reported having used an e-book. What’s more, compared with the 2007 Wellesley-usage data, the number of unique titles that were accessed jumped by 40 per cent.

Total pages viewed increased by 184 per cent, while the number of pages printed dropped by 11 per cent. However, this new survey indicates that availability and convenience  are only part of story in considering the increased adoption of e-books as a result of is only part of the story, say the authors.

The study also found that faculty are more likely to own, or plan to purchase, a reading device for e-books. In contrast, nearly half (45 per cent) of student responders indicated that they have no plans to purchase a reading device. Furthermore, those who own a device (ie faculty) are far more likely than those who do not to read at least a full chapter from, if not an entire e-book.

The authors concluded: 'Results from the survey seem to show that faculty have a slightly higher acceptance of e-books, and students a slightly higher preference for print books. We also find that faculty at Wellesley are much more likely than students to either own or plan to purchase a mobile device particularly tablets. By analysing responses from those who own or plan to purchase a mobile device we can further clarify this difference in format preference.'

The paper, by Deborah Lenares of the Margaret Clapp Library at Wellesley College, and Steven Smith, formerly of Wellesley College and now head of collection management at Boston University Libraries, is available online, as well as at this year’s Electronic Resources and Libraries (ER&L) Conference in Austin, TX, USA.