April 7-May 2, 2014
Introduction to Ebooks & E-readers
Definition and context
History of ebooks
Basic features of ebooks
Ebook advantages and challenges
Ebook softwares and formats
Ebook reading devices
Digital Rights Management (DRM)
Dominant brands in the ebook market
What is an ebook?
It is a book read on an electronic device.
Several variations are currently used in the media: electronic book, ebook, e-book,
eBook, digital book.
It is an electronic version of any printed work (most ebooks first exist as print books).
It can also be a book available in electronic format only, born digital.
It is an electronic document that maintains many of the features of traditional books,
including typography, table of contents, chapters, and index.
As with any print book, ebooks are discussed in the context of a variety of genres,
including fiction, nonfiction, illustrated books, reference books, e-textbooks, etc.
Ebooks can be produced in a variety of formats, ranging from very basic text files to well
structured files that use one of the emerging standards for e-books (including ePub and
In addition to text, ebooks may include multi-media components, including the cover
image, illustrations and photographs, audio for 'text to speech' (a standard ebook reader
feature), audiobooks, and videos.
E-book < E-content
A variety of materials besides books are available for reading
electronically. Hence, the term e-content is 'greater' than the term e-
book. In fact, a number of prominent industry leaders believe ebooks
are a transitional digital medium that will be transcended in the future.
The term "digital media" is also used to encompass a variety of e-texts
available for reading on electronic devices, including, for example,
newspapers and magazines.
E-book < E-content, Cont.
Amazon, for example, uses the term "eDoc," to refer to digital content
that can be viewed on a computer screen. According to Amazon.com,
"in addition to being shorter (typically) than eBooks, eDocs do not have
software protection that prevents them from being copied and printed
(Digital Rights Management). However, eDocs are still subject to
Gutenberg Press, as another example, uses the term e-text to
distinguish regular ASCII text files from the files that contain ebooks.
History of ebooks/Major milestones
Ebooks are still in their infancy (compared to print books that
have been around for five centuries). Their story begins in 1971
with Michael S. Hart's Project Gutenberg, whose goal is to
preserve historical and cultural works in digital format, with
volunteers scanning and typing in texts of books. Since these
books are in the public domain, they may be shared and
Ebooks start to emerge as digital versions of print books with the
advent of the World Wide Web in the early 1990s and are read on
computers and distributed on CD-ROMS (users copy the book
on the CD-ROM onto their desktop).
History of ebooks/Major milestones, cont.
A small number of publishers release ebooks as early as 1994.
Digital publishing becomes mainstream by late 1990s.
Amazon.com emerges in 1995 as the first main online bookstore and is
considered "bad news" for local bookstores.
By 2000, digital publishing and print publishing become
complimentary, although most publishers still do not produce ebook
versions of every new book.
History of ebooks/Major milestones, cont.
In 1993: Apple Newton, the first Personal Digital Assistant (PDA), is
introduced, followed by the advent of the following ebook reading
devices between 1999 and 2012:
1999: Franklin EB-500 Rocket Book
2000: Microsoft E-Reader
2002: Palm Treo
2004: Sony Libre
2006: Sony eReader
2007: Kindle (Amazon)
2009: Nook (Barnes & Noble)
2010: iPad (Apple)
2011: Kindle Fire (Amazon)
2012: mini iPad (Apple)
History of ebooks/Major milestones, cont.
By 2010, most publishers, particularly on the academic and reference
publishing side, have a digital strategy in place for every title published.
By 2013, the market is saturated with ebook reading devices competing
for the attention of readers. These include both dedicated readers like
the Kindle, tablets like the iPad and the Android, and a range
smartphones, like the iPhone.
History of ebooks/Major milestones, cont.
According to Marie Lebert (NEF, University of Toronto, 2009), author of A Short History of
Ebooks, the following may be recognized as the major milestones in the evolution of ebooks:
1971: Project Gutenberg is the first digital library
1990: The web boosts the Internet
1993: The Online Books Page is a list of free ebooks
1994: Some publishers get bold and go digital
1995: Amazon.com is the first main online bookstore
1996: There are more and more texts online
1997: Multi-media convergence and employment
1998: Libraries take over the web
1999: Librarians get digital
2000: Information is available in many languages
2002: Creative Commons licenses are released
2003: eBooks are sold worldwide
2004: Authors are creative on the Internet
2005: Google gets interested in ebooks
2006: We strive for a public digital library
2007: We read on portable electronic devices
Advantages of ebooks
There are a number of advantages ofreading books in e-formats and they
generally outweigh the drawbacks. Advantages include the following:
Portability — Ebook devices are easy to carry and can store numerous books
simultaneously; a great feature for travelers.
Storage — E-reading devices are able to store large number of titles. In
libraries, digital collections open the door for a much greater range of titles
than brick-and-mortar institutions can hold.
Free content — Thousands of books—older public domain titles as well as
newly released, self-published titles—are available for downloading for free via
a number of web sites, including popular online books stores like Amazon and
Barnes & Noble.
Inexpensive content — Some authors opt to self-publish their own books and
make them available online for a fraction of the cost of print equivalents.
Advantages of ebooks, cont.
Fast access & distribution — Downloading ebooks takes little time and effort; no wait periods or
shipping is involved; and Internet connectivity, especially broadband connectivity, is becoming
increasingly more affordable and available in many remote locations. Ebooks can be easily
distributed over the Internet, much like email files, and distribution costs are usually negligible.
Multiple access points — Ebooks may be accessed in many different ways: via desktops, laptops,
phones, and various other mobile devices.
More choices & variety — Brick-and-mortar bookstores and libraries cannot provide the variety
available in an online environment; their digital collections are far larger and more varied than their
Adaptability & ADA Compliance —Readers can adjust font size and brightness to individual
preferences. Ebooks are easier to hold and more comfortable to use for those with carpal tunnel
syndrome, arthritis, and other physical disabilities.
Interactivity — An e-book is structured like a web page, providing the reader with features that
enable fast navigation through hyperlinking, annotation, and keyword searches. Most ebooks can
be searched, bookmarked, and highlighted.
"Enhanced" reading experience — More and more ebooks are enhanced with multi-media
features. A medical e-textbook, for example, can explain a medical condition using a video clip and
a children’s book may contain animations that help depict the story.
Advantages of ebooks, cont.
Literacy support — Because of the inclusion of multi-media and other features, ebooks
support learning and teaching in ways not possible before. E-textbooks are expected to play a
vital role in the future of education. Teachers and professors are already producing their own
ebooks as learning resources via a number of platforms.
Currency — Unlike print books, which often include information that ages quickly, ebooks
can be updated and re-published faster. This is especially relevant in certain branches of
publishing susceptible to frequent updating, including STM and reference publishers. A
traditional print encyclopedia takes months, sometimes years, to undergo a single revision. An
ebook (or digital) version of the same encyclopedia may be updated on an ongoing basis.
Usage monitoring —Usage of ebooks can be tracked, which helps libraries manage
expectations and resources and decide with confidence which titles to buy, license, or remove
from their collections. Traditional weeding practices call for much more complex decision
Self-publishing — A growing number of authors are skipping the traditional publishing
process and opting to publish their own books digitally via a variety of tools available online.
This makes them available for consumption faster and it opens up publishing opportunities for
individuals to share their work who wouldn't otherwise be able to via traditional publishing
Environmentally-friendly — Publishing ebooks generally means using less paper, which is
usually translated to saving the environment.
Challenges with ebooks
Notable challenges with ebooks include:
Lack of standard format—There is still no standard format for reading ebooks; most ebook
readers can only read certain formats.
Device fatigue — The proliferation of ebook reading devices is showing no signs of slowing
down. The choices can be overwhelming for the average consumer.
High price tag of ebooks — Consumers expect ebooks to cost significantly less than their
print counterparts (as production cost is minimal compared to the traditional printing
process). However, many ebooks are priced only slightly less than print books or, in many
cases, they cost the same. The library price in some cases is four times higher than the retail
High price tag of reading devices — Although the prices of portable devices have gone
down in recent years, many are still considered expensive for the average consumer. They also
Threat of piracy — Ebooks can be easily duplicated and disseminated and, if available
without protection, can lead to unauthorized copying and distribution.
Built-in DRM — Many ebooks cannot be copied, loaned, or restored owing to DRM
Challenges with ebooks, cont.
ADA Compliance still an issue — Some e-readers still don't comply with ADA accessibility
regulations, making some titles out of reach to people with disabilities.
Availability — Not all titles are available in ebook format. Many titles still only exist in print.
Quality of content is called into question — Because of the phenomenon of ebook self-
publishing, valid concerns exist about the quality of content produced and delivered via self-
publishing tools requiring minimal or no professional editorial input.
Presence of typos — Because a large number of free ebooks are entered into e-repositories
manually by volunteers, they may (and do) contain typos.
Lack of multi-media — Many educational ebooks still don't contain images and other multi-
media components. Great strides have been made in recent years by K-12 publishers to increase
interactivity of their digital offerings, but adding multi-media components is a costly endeavor for
most, particularly independent, educational publishers.
Content is never (really) owned — Ebook content is not owned the same way print content is
owned. Upon purchase and download of an ebook, Content Provider (e.g., Publisher) grants a user
a non-exclusive right to view, use, and display the content in electronic format (also referred to as
"digital content" on various sites selling ebooks) an unlimited number of times on a device or a
reading application. Therefore, ebook content is licensed—not sold—by the Content Provider.
Digital Rights Management
Digital Rights Management (DRM) is considered to be the answer to the threat of
piracy associated with ebooks. It has been the topic of many a discussion in the
publishing and library industries in recent years.
Also referred to as Digital Restriction Management, DRM is different from
Copyright law, which is defined as follows: " The Copyright Law of the United States
encourages the creation of art and culture by rewarding authors and artists with a
set of exclusive rights. Federal Copyright law grants authors and artists the exclusive
right to make and sell copies of their works, the right to create derivative works, and
the right to perform or display their works publicly. These exclusive rights are
subject to a time limit, and generally expire 70 years after the author's death."
Digital Rights Management, cont.
DRM is often discussed in conjunction with DMCA (Digital Millennium
Copyright Act), which is defined as "a United States copyright law that
implements two 1996 treaties of the World Intellectual Property Organization
(WIPO). It criminalizes production and dissemination of technology, devices,
or services intended to circumvent measures (commonly known as digital
rights management or DRM) that control access to copyrighted works. It also
criminalizes the act of circumventing an access control, whether or not there is
actual infringement of copyright itself." (source: Wikipedia)
DRM is used not only in connection with books and other written content but
also in connection with music, videos, computers, mobile phones, and games.
The majority of traditional publishers and book sellers place some DRM
protection on ebooks. Each has its own set of DRM restrictions in place. These
vary from strict, to light, to DRM-free. Academic publishers often place light
DRM on their ebook titles (that are usually accessed via large e-resources to
which libraries subscribe). Ebook Lending Services like OverDrive, on the
other hand, provide access to titles with strict DRM.
Digital Rights Management, cont.
DRM systems are used to protect author, publisher, and distributor rights by enforcing
limits on the use of digital content. This means that ebooks with DRM protection…
cannot be copied or printed
cannot be viewed on multiple devices
cannot be moved from one device to another
cannot be purchased in certain territories
can only be downloaded a certain number of times (if the buyer loses a book, he may only
be able to download it again once more; in some cases, he has to purchase it again)
cannot be read aloud (a barrier for the visually impaired)
Digital Rights Management, cont.
There are different ways to block readers from acquiring ebook content published in
another country. For example, ebook titles are often made invisible to shoppers in
certain territories via IP address identification.
DRM is usually managed by the manufacturers of eReaders. These eReaders possess
the “key” to a “lock” on the ebook. If the ebook is locked for reading on one device,
only that device has the “key” to it. The user is, therefore, unable to read it on any
Several DRM systems exists, with the following three being the most dominant:
Amazon/Mobipocket encryption (used by Amazon)
FairPlay (used by Apple)
Adobe Content Server (used by most others)
How are eBooks read?
Ebooks may be read on a variety of devices with a variety of apps (applications) and
All ebook file formats require software to display the contents of an ebook. Titles are tied
to both formats and devices. While some titles may be available on all major
devices, others may only be available on some.
The software may run on one of three platforms: Desktop (your
computer/laptop), mobile devices (mobile phones, smartphones, tablet PCs), and
dedicated ebook readers (Kindle, Nook).
Mobile devices are in essence small computers with a built-in phone and include
iPods, iPads, iPhones, Android Phones, and Blackberries. Most mobile devices have LCD
(Liquid Crystal Display), which makes reading in bright light somewhat difficult. Most
mobile devices feature touch screens (rather than buttons) and are compatible with the
ePub format, which is becoming the dominant format.
Dedicated eReaders are different from other multi-functional portable devices in that
their main function is to serve as "devices used to read books only," whereas tablets and
other mobile devices offer a range of other functions, such as web-browsing, game
playing, and many others. They also feature e-Ink display.
Advantages and Disadvantages of
LCD and e-Ink Screens
+ Full color
- Harder on the eyes
+ Can display video (movies)
- Takes more power (battery doesn’t last as long)
+ Backlit, so you can read in the dark
- Hard to read outdoors or in bright sunlight
- Black & white
+ Easy on the eyes; like paper
- Can’t display full video
+ Takes very little power (battery lasts longer)
- Can’t be read in the dark (like a regular book)
+ Easy to read outdoors, the more light the better
+ Very crisp and sharp
How are eBooks delivered to the user?
Ebooks are downloaded in several ways: via a USB connection (between e-reader devices
and computer – this method is being phased out); wirelessly (via wi-fi built into e-
readers); and via broadband connection, 3G or 4G (built into e-readers).
E-books are distributed to desktop computers, mobile devices, and e-book readers by
ebook stores, publishers, and various online repositories.
Ebooks may be downloaded in a number of ways:
Simple computer download – Ebooks are either publicly available (free ebooks) or
available upon registration or payment (paid-for ebooks), with a link provided to the user
which allows the ebook to be downloaded directly to a computer.
Via applications (apps) – A growing number of apps allow users to search and
download ebooks directly to their computer or device. Generally, each reading device
and/or format requires its own app. Apps are downloadable free of charge.
Via Email – Ebooks can also be emailed to a device and then manually added to a reader
software or reading device.
Navigating and browsing ebooks
Ebooks can be more difficult to navigate than print books, owing in part to the
fact that ebook readers usually don't have the same context as readers of print
books and depend more on browsing and keyword spotting rather than having
the opportunity to be engaged in an in-depth reading of text.
On the other hand, ebooks often include the option of following hyperlinks to
other content of interest online, which deepens research and leads to a more
satisfying learning experience for the user.
Ebooks may be navigated via:
searching for keywords (if the reading device has a search
the Table of Contents, which often links directly to the chapters in
the Index, if available
Ebooks can be read on a computer using ebook reading software designed to display various file
Ebook software = operating device
All of the major ebook sellers provide their own eReading software.
One of the most popular software readers is Adobe Digital Editions.
For PCs, software readers include Adobe Digital Editions, Kindle for PC, and Nook for PC, among
others. For Macs, software readers include Adobe Digital Editions, Kindle for Mac, and Nook for
Mac, among others. Other software readers include: Calibre, Stanza Desktop, and Mobipocket
E-reading apps are needed for smartphones and tablets; they are downloaded via each device's
app store. eReading apps include, among others:
iBooks (for iPad)
Aldiko (for Android)
The format of ebook depends on the device used to read the ebook. Important
to note: not all e-readers recognize all ebook formats.
Ebooks come in a variety of formats. The format of an ebook is recognized from
the extension of its file name.
Most dominant ebook formats include: ePub, PDF, MOBI, AZW/Kindle (a
version of Mobi), and HTML. Other, less used formats include Plain Text,
eReader (.pdb), Microsoft LIT (discontinued on August 30th, 2012), Broadband
eBooks (BBeB), and SSReader.
There is no standard for describing what format a publisher should use to
produce an ebook, although most professional publishers in 2014 are leaning
toward two formats: ePub and Adobe PDF.
A useful comparison of ebook formats used for creating and reading ebooks is
available on Wikipedia.
most common format; becoming the standard; the most versatile of all formats
formatting possibilities in ePub books have surpassed all of the other formats
maintained by IDPF (International Digital Publishing Forum), a non-profit made up of
technology and publishing companies
supports JPEG, PNG, GIF, SVG images, and Flash, which enable audio and video
supported by nearly every device, except Amazon Kindle
DRM can be added to it (Adobe DRM is used most often)
textbook developers are most interested in this format
can be read on Windows and Mac computers with Adobe Digital Editions, on the Nook,
Sony Reader, iOS devices, the Android devices, and on Linux computers
an open standard largely used as an alternative to ePub
compatible with most readers
good for exact layouts and illustrated books
doesn't reflow to fit small screens
ideal for computer screens (not mobile devices)
sold and distributed by a variety of companies
DRM can be added to it
Mobipocket (.mobi, .prc)
developed by a French company that launched its ebook reading software
when ebooks were still in their infancy
company purchased by Amazon in 2005 and is now its main format
supports most devices (except Nook)
DRM can be added to it (when an encrypted file is downloaded from a retailer
it is locked to the user's registered device)
there is no difference between .mobi, .prc, or .azw (below) -- the files are the
can be used on any of the Kindle devices, plus Kindle apps for
PC, Mac, Android, Blackberry, and iOS devices; cannot be used on Nook or
used to be the most popular format but is becoming dated
Amazon's proprietary format; a version of Mobi (see
can be read on mobile devices via the Kindle app
can be used on any of the Kindle devices, plus Kindle
apps for PC, Mac, Android, Blackberry, and iOS
devices; cannot be used on Nook or Sony
HTML (.htm; .html)
HTML is the markup language for web pages
can be read in a web browser
can be read on any device with a built-in web browser
can be printed, copied, pasted, and manipulated; no
not based on HTML (like other formats) but on PML
(Palm Markup Language)
can be locked down with DRM
can be converted into an ebook file using one of
eReader's programs: Dropbook and ebookStudio
compatible with iPhone, iPod Touch, Blackberry,
Windows, Mac, and Palm OS
Examples include Amazon Kindle, Barnes & Noble’s Nook, and Sony Reader
feature e-ink display (which looks like text on paper)
e-ink display does not emit light; can be read in direct sunlight
longer battery life than tablets
low functionality overall; searchable text
long battery life (several days)
are designed for reading only
weigh less than tablets
can access one book store (as opposed to many different ones like tablets)
cost less (circa 150-250, depending on model)
some predict they will be replaced by tablets (according to industry estimates,
their sales peaked in 2011)
Examples include the iPad, Kindle Fire, the Android devices, the
feature LCD display, with high resolution (similar to computer
good for reading in dim light/screen glare in bright light
not used just for reading but also for watching movies, playing
games and music, and using various software applications (apps)
also used for web surfing
a lot of memory but limited battery life
can access many different book stores online
cost more than dedicated e-readers (circa $500, depending on
Mobile Devices (Phones)
phones that can be used for reading
include Blackberry, iPhone, Android
battery life comparable to cell phone
convenient and lightweight but not good for long reading
Dominant Brands in the Ebook Market
Kindle by Amazon.com
Kinde E-Reader Family
Kindle Paperwhite 3G
Kindle Keyboard 3G
Kindle Fire Family (tablets)
Kindle Fire HD
Kindle Fire HD 8'9
Kindle Fire HD 8'9 4G
Dominant Brands in the Ebook Market, cont.
NOOK by Barnes & Noble
Nook Simple Touch (6 inch Reader)
Nook Simple Touch with GlowLight (6 inch Reader)
Nook HD (7 inch tablet)
Nook HD+ (9 inch tablet)
Sony [exited US market in early 2014]
Dominant Brands in the Ebook Market, cont.
Apple iOS Devices
iPad (the original; with Retina Display)
Other Devices used for Reading Ebooks
Google Nexus 4, 7, and 10
Samsung Galaxy 4G Tablet
Ectacto Jetbook Color 2
Bookeen Cybook Odyssey HD Frontlight
Kyobo Mirasol eReader
Onyx Boox M92
BeBook Club 'S'
PocketBook 360 plus
Pocketbook ProBook 602/603 902/903
Pros and Cons of E-reading Devices
DEVICES Pros Cons
Smartphones Many options and choices, highly mobile,
long battery life, built-in phone
Small screen and keyboard
Tablets Computer-like features, portability, best
reading interface, expandable memory, more
capable hardware, apps
Not as powerful and capable as laptops
for professional work
Dedicated E-Readers Lightweight, portability, ability to hold many
ebooks, affordable price
Inadequate power and speed
Laptops/Netbooks More powerful, feature-rich, fast, web
capability, functionality, software,
peripherals support (e.g., printers, monitors)
Less portable than tablets but more
Source: E-Book Devices: An Overview for Libraries, John Burns, eContent
Quarterly, March 2014
Useful sources of information on ebook
Wikipedia Comparison chart of ebook readers
E-Reader-info.com Directory of E-Readers
E-Reader-info.com 2013 Ebook Reader Reviews
Factors To Consider When Deciding on An E-Reading Device
Do I want to use the device only for reading ebooks?
Do I also want to be able to view email and browse the Internet via the same device?
Do I want to use the device for playing games and downloading music and apps?
Do I already own a device which allows me to check email and browse the web?
Do I want to be able to download and watch movies using the same device?
Do I want constant Internet access on this device or do I have sufficient access to the
Internet via WiFi?
How much time will I spend using the device on the go?
What size am I most comfortable with?
How important are the following: connectivity speed, compatibility, and security?
How important is battery life?
How prevalent are ebooks in American culture?
According to January 2014 Pew Research Center Survey:
Three in ten adults read an ebook last year; half own a table
The percentage of adults who read an ebook in the past
year has risen to 28 percent, up from 23 percent in 2012
Seven in ten Americans reported reading a book in print
14 percent of adults listened to an audiobook
How prevalent are ebooks in American culture, cont.
Other Pew Research Center Survey findings:
Print remains the foundation of Americans’ reading habits.
Most people who read ebooks also read print books
4 percent of readers are “ebook only” readers
76 percent of adults read a book in some format over the
previous 12 motnhs
The typical American adult read or listened to 5 books in the
How prevalent are ebooks in American culture, cont.
50 percent of Americans now have a handheld device, either a tablet or
an e-reader (up from 43 percent in September 2013)
92 percent of adults have a cell phone
55 percent of adults have a smartphone
75 percent of adults own a laptop or desktop computer
The effect of ebook growth on reading habits among children
and young adults
In 2013, Scholastic released the fourth edition of its biannual "Kids &
Family Reading Report," which focused on the effects of the growth
of ebooks and e-reading devices on the reading habits of children aged
6-17 and their parents. The survey found the following:
46 percent of kids aged 6-17 have an ebook (up from 25 percent in
41 percent of parents have read an ebook (up from 14 percent in 2010).
75 percent of kids said they read ebooks at home.
27 percent of kids said they read ebooks at school.
13 percent of kids said they read ebooks at the library.
half of children aged 9-17 said they would read more books for fun if
they had greater access to ebooks, a 50 percent increase since 2010.
72 percent of parents were interested in having their child read ebooks.
58 percent of kids aged 9-17 said they would always want to read books
printed on paper even though there are ebooks available.
Ebook Usage in Public, Academic and K-12
According to a 2012 and 2013 surveys of public,
academic and school libraries conducted by Library
Journal and School Library Journal, the following
conclusions were drawn about the use of ebooks :
Average number of ebooks offered in… 2010 2011 2012
Graduate/Professional libraries 37,500 97,500 138,800
Undergraduate libraries 31,000 60,600 80,700
Community College/2-year libraries 21,500 25,200 32,400
Academic libraries were early adopters of ebooks, with 19% reporting they have carried ebooks
for more than eight years. As a result, ebook adoption has plateaued in academic libraries, with
about 95% currently carrying ebooks.
Ebook usage/circulation in academic libraries for the 2010–2011 academic year, on
average, was 24,700, up considerably from the reported ebook circulation figure of
6,849 in 2009–2010. There was a major surge of undergraduate ebook circulation.
Community colleges are still lagging behind other types of post-secondary schools.
Mean ebooks circulation/usage... 2009–2010
Graduate/Professional libraries 16,200 35,881
Undergraduate libraries 4,800 27,550
Community College/2-year libraries 3,200 3,873
Academic spending on ebooks is focused on new releases and updates to reference
titles and e-textbooks. The average amount spent on ebooks by respondents during
the 2011–2012 academic year was $67,400 (median $16,600).
Average amount spent on ebooks...
Graduate/Professional libraries $142,272 $99,900
Undergraduate libraries $36,356 $42,600
Community College/2-year libraries $14,123 $15,600
The top issue for library users wanting access to e-content remains the fact that they
remain “unaware of ebook availability." Other barriers to ebook access include
preference to read materials in print, difficulty in reading onscreen, and DRM.
Barriers to user ebook access... 2010 2011 2012
Unaware of ebook availability 62% 58% 52%
Users prefer print 40% 47% 50%
Limited titles available 41% n/a 49%
Difficult to read onscreen/online 52% 45% 45%
Complex downloading process 14% 18% 41%
Digital rights management issues 55% 35% 37%
Difficult to find/Discover 32% 38% 32%
Not available for preferred devices 23% 32% 30%
Lack of training 26% 28% 29%
Difficult to annotate 32% 26% 27%
High demand titles not available for libraries n/a 17% 24%
Ebook titles not available concurrent with print
n/a 22% 21%
Limited access to ereading devices 20% 19% 19%
Faculty resistance n/a 18% 18%
Long wait times for ebooks n/a 4% 8%
Other 7% 10% 3%
Awkward interface 35% n/a n/a
Not downloadable n/a n/a 2%
Limited concurrent users n/a n/a 1%
Printing limitations n/a n/a 1%
None of the above n/a n/a 1%
Ebook Usage in Public Libraries 2014:
Demand Slows Down but Remains High
According to a 2013 survey of public libraries conducted by Library
Journal, the following conclusions were drawn about the use of ebooks:
While ebooks are still growing in popularity, they are not exploding like
they were a year or two ago
89 percent of libraries indicated they offered ebooks (unchanged from
The median number of ebooks offered was in excess of 7000, an increase by
more than 800 percent since 2010
42 percent reported “dramatic increase,” in demand, down from 79 percent
Most of public libraries’ ebook titles (91 percent) are accessed one user at a
time, rather than simultaneously
74 percent of ebook collections are fiction titles, while 26 percent are
Adult titles account for 71 percent of public libraries’ collections
SCHOOL LIBRARIES (2012 Data)
School libraries lag behind academic and public libraries in adoption of ebooks.
Many are still in the earliest stages of ebook adoption, with budget issues usually
cited as a large part of what is holding school libraries back from implementing
ebook lending services.
In 2012, the likelihood of a school library carrying ebooks increased by grade level,
with 63% of high school libraries, 50% of middle schools, and 33% of elementary
schools offering them.
Of those libraries that do not offer ebooks (60% of all school libraries), 26% say they
will definitely purchase ebooks to add to their collections in the next two years, while
the majority—55%—may purchase them, but it’s not a priority. Only 9% have ruled
out ebook purchasing entirely.
WEEK 1 REVIEW
By the end of Week 1, you should be able to answer the following:
How long have ebooks been around?
What were the major milestones in the evolution of ebooks?
What are basic features of ebooks?
What are the advantages of reading books in electronic format?
What are the challenges associated with ebooks?
How can ebooks be read?
How are ebooks downloaded?
What are the most dominant ebook formats?
What are "ebook software readers" used for?
What types of portable devices can ebooks be read on?
What is the difference between e-ink and LCD screens?
What are key differences when reading ebooks on tablets, dedicated e-readers, and smart
Who are the major players in the market of ebook readers?
What are key factors to consider when deciding on an ebook reader?
What is the effect of ebook growth on reading habits?
What do recent studies suggest about the consumption of ebooks among general population?
What do recent studies suggest about ebook usage in academic, public, and K-12 libraries?
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