Monday, June 30, 2008

2008 Global Student eBook Survey, the Popularity of eTexts and a New Look for eBooks


2008 Global Student eBook Survey

 2008 Global Student Survey on eBooks is a study designed by 150 librarians.  The study explores how students use digital information and eBooks.  The study offers the perspectives of nearly 6,500 college and university students about eBook usage, benefits and needs.

The attitudes and awareness about eBooks is definitely changing.  Most notable for me was the finding that eBooks were in second place (78%) as the most used resource for research/class assignments. In first place was Google and other search engines; print books followed closely at 77%.  Basically Google tops books of any sort.

Students are beginning to see eBook on a parity with print books.  Faculty members, however, do not seem to be as convinces.  Last year the 2007 Global Faculty Survey showed that teachers put eBooks in 6th place on a list of electronic resources they use. 

Maybe this is a case where the students can teach the teachers a thing or two.

eTexts: Why Students like them

And on the subject of eBooks in education.  We should note that In the last year there has been a 400% increase in digital textbook adoption.  Ingram Digital wanted to find out why.  So they did a survey of  680 e-Book Users to find out why.  Key findings:

  • 47% of those surveyed believe that "cost in relation to print copies" is very important.
  • 46% stated the convenience of e-books is a big attraction
  • 45% sited interactive features (45%) as being very important.

Price, convenience and interactivity seem to trump the smell or feel of a book.

A New Look for eBooks

Finally, last week researchers at Maryland and Berkeley Universities announced a new prototype eBook.  One that let's you turn pages just like you can with a print book.

Why anyone thinks this is a good idea absolutely mystifies me!   Evidently there are people who are still clinging to the idea that if you somehow make the digital reading experience more like the paper experience you will get people to eBooks.

Maybe they should refer to the student survey about why eBooks are popular with them:  price, convenience and interactivity.  This design does nothing to enhance any of those stated reasons.

Personally, I would like to see all of that creative energy go into figuring out how to create the $100 eBook reader that reads every format (with or without DRM).  

Or better yet, use that creativity to create real content that people want.  Content with enhanced interactivity at a lower price would be a good start.

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