Thursday, October 2, 2008

e-Reading - the changing landscape

springer logo

I stumbled on a white paper publisher by Springer.  It is a very interesting synopsis of two studies about eBook adoption and benefits.  Springer asked librarians and users about their views on eBooks.  The original study was done in 2007 and focused on librarians. The followup study was done in 2008 and addressed users. 

The executive summary concludes:

The survey uncovered some encouraging results regarding eBook adoption. Most users were aware of eBooks and had accessed them at least once. Respondents also overwhelmingly said that eBooks are useful and that they would like to incorporate eBooks into their information experience more frequently.
Some of the other points of interest include: 
  • The main use for eBooks is for research and study
  • eBook usage is still less concentrated than online journal usage
  • Users find eBooks through using Google or accessing their library
  • The primary benefits of eBooks as sited by readers are convenience, accessibility, and enhanced functionality
  • Current users expect to prefer eBooks to other reading formats over the next five years
The study summary is as follows:

Users are not reading eBooks cover-to-cover in the traditional sense but instead approach them as a resource for finding answers to research questions.

I have been thinking about this for the last few days.  Thinking about how I read and how my reading habits have changed as I have adopted eBooks.

What I realize is that how I read for pleasure has not really changed much.  But the way I read for information has undergone a profound change. 

If I wanted a specific piece of information in the past I would go to the library and use the card index or microfiche, spend hours of time and more often than not end up frustrated. 

Now, if I want a specific piece of information I Google it.  Usually I can find it very quickly.  And then a funny thing happens -- I start browsing related links.  Before long I have spent hours of time, but I have enriched my knowledge base in a significant way.

If I want a specific piece of information from a book, I search on key words or phrases and it generally pops up pretty quickly.

Nice to know that I have become a typical reader <g>.

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