UoL Library Blog

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Will Ebooks finally have their day?

Posted by gazjjohnson on 23 September, 2008

I ask the question following on in part to a discussion myself and Selina were having this morning about the economics of eBooks and eReaders; now the big boys like Amazon and Sony are getting into the game.  Then what do I read in the latest CILIP Gazette?  But a front cover article on eBooks/readers.

Is this (finally) the beginning of the end for the printed word in the library, meaning we can switch more floor space over to student study – or will it take years for people to take it up?  I know I’ve already spoken with more than one student in recent years who was hoping we’d go down the ebook only route sooner rather than later.

I just don’t want to be the one on the end of the phone explaining the authentication routine for her non-standard ebook reader bought at Aldi*.  Will they all read PDF or are there going to be other new standards?  Will we have to upgrade all our stocks data format; data preservation techniques are hardly robust enough as it is let alone bringing in issues like ensuring future accessibility.

So I won’t be running out to buy a reader myself, I’ll let the bleeding edge folks do that and see what’s gained prominence and acceptability in a few years.  Assuming we all survive the collapse of the world financial markets that is…

*I speak with bitter experience here of Aldi’s cheap but annoyingly non-future proofed bargin priced tech peripherals!

7 Responses to “Will Ebooks finally have their day?”

  1. sarahw9 said

    Perhaps this would free us from the notion that librarians stamp books and tidy shelves.. perhaps would involve actually canvasing our users to find what technology they prefer and ordering stock accordingly (oops perhaps a little idealistic – sadly economics will probably get in the way).

  2. gazjjohnson said

    Nothing will free us from that stereotype – I mean, how many scientists these days wear labcoats*? Yet that’s still the popular image – white coat=scientist, as glasses, bun and stamping books=librarian.

    *aside from those in micro or wet chemistry labs

    I’m waiting for an ebooks supplier/publisher to go under shortly, and leave us all high and dry without our e-resources. Remember kids you heard it here first!

  3. ajcann said

    Over here, all laboratory scientists wear labcoats.

    eBooks? Dunno, for reference, yes, for ownership, not sure. But look at what’s happened to eJournal and the physical shape of the Library accordingly.

  4. knockels said

    A recent reprot from Springer – looks at the end user experience of ebooks, asking questions of end users in five institutions, none in the UK. Reference and text books were most frequently used, and a large spread of titles were used, rather than usage being concentrated on just a tiny number. Users are not reading ebooks cover to cover, but are using them where they need to access specific information. The executive summary (I confess the only bit I have read!) ends “Viewing eBooks through the lens of traditional print book usage might cause libraries to miss important opportunities for enhancing the user research experience.”

  5. knockels said

    What is a reprot?

  6. ajcann said

  7. gazjjohnson said

    Well that settles my outfit for inductions!

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