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Monday, April 11, 2011

Library study on student e-reader perceptions

A new preprint article is available from the Journal of Information Technology and Libraries. The article reports on a study by a librarian at Queens College (CUNY) on student usage of e-readers at the institution.

Not surprisingly, student uptake of devices is still low. This mirrors our data at NACS. As with other studies, the researcher found that students use the devices mostly for leisure reading, and prefer print for much of their reading. Price was noted as a primary barrier to getting an ereader device. Interestingly, students expressed little interest in borrowing e-reader compatible ebooks from the library.

The article has an interesting bibliographic review, and the discussion of the data and results is also quite interesting. The article also has a few interesting tables and data points. Among these:

  • 23.4% of responding students read ebooks. Of those, 15.8% read on a dedicated ereader device. Roughly 4% of the total set of responding students owned a dedicated device.

  • Students with dedicated e-readers were more than twice as likely to do 2/3rds to all of their reading on the device.

  • Owners of ereaders were most likely to be reading recreational content on their ereaders, which is unsurprising given that most of these devices are oriented toward trade book reading. Owners of ereaders were more than twice as likely to read an ebook for recreational purposes than for class.

  • Interestingly, those students without ebook readers were more likely to indicate that they read ebooks for class purposes. This group read ebooks for recreational content about the same amount as for class.

  • Students who own an ereader overwhelmingly were most likely to purchase their ebooks from the "official" store associated with the device. Open access repositories and public libraries came in at a distant second and third place respectively, followed closely by online independent retailers.

The study contains some additional observations and data points of interest.

1 comment:

Mark Taormino, Ed.D. said...

The use of e-readers in higher education is still emerging. Many other studies have also concluded that the best use of e-readers is for recreational reading. The concept of 'active reading' is central to studying texts and is not well supported by e-readers or tablets such as the iPad. The ability to interact with text through writing mechanisms is still cumbersome and nearly as effortless as working with paper. Perhaps as the technology evolves, we will have better hardware to support active reading. I just recently completed a study in higher education using the iPad and also found that students were ok with reading from the iPad, but were still reticent to adopt the device. Cost was also a big issue since the device offered little relative advantage over print.