E-Books: What Librarians Need
To Know Now and for the Future
WEEK 1 LECTURE
September 2, 2013-September 27th, 2013
Week 1: Introduction to Ebooks & E-
• Definition and context
• History of ebooks
• Major milestones
• 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,
• 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 copyright law."
• Gutenberg Press, as another example, uses the term e-
text to distinguish regular ASCII text files from the files
that contain ebooks.
Brief history of ebooks/Major
• 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 distributed freely.
• 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).
Brief history of ebooks/Major
• A small number of publishers release ebooks as
early as 1994; digital publishing becomes
mainstream by late 1990s; by 2000, digital
publishing and print publishing become
complimentary, although most publishers still do
not produce ebook versions of every new book.
• Amazon.com emerges in 1995 as the first main
online bookstore and is considered "bad news"
for local bookstores.
Brief history of ebooks/Major
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)
Brief history of ebooks/Major
• 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 Kindle, tablets like the iPad, and
Brief history of ebooks/Major
• 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 many advantages to reading books in electronic formats and they generally
outweigh the drawbacks. They 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
• 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
• 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 making.
• 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 channels.
• Environmentally-friendly — Publishing ebooks generally means using less paper, which leads to
saving more trees.
Challenges with ebooks
Notable challenges with ebooks include the following:
• Format fatigue —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 — Many 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, cost the same.
• 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.
• 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 protection.
Challenges with ebooks
• 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.
• Presence of typos — Because a large number of free ebooks are entered into e-repositories
manually by volunteers, they may contain typos.
• Lack of multi-media — Many educational ebooks still don't contain images and other multi-media
• 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.
• 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." (source:
Digital Rights Management
• 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
• The majority of traditional publishers and book sellers place some DRM
protection on the ebooks. Each has its own set of DRM restrictions in
place. These vary from strict, to light, to DRM-free.
Digital Rights Management
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
• There are many 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 other device.
• Several DRM systems exists, with the following three being the
• 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 programs.
• 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
• 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
• Ebooks are downloaded in several ways: via a USB connection (between e-reader devices and
computer); wirelessly (via wi-fi built into e-readers); and via broadband connection, 3G or 4G (built
• E-books are distributed to desktop computers, mobile devices, and e-book readers by ebook stores,
publishers, and 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 readers of ebooks don't have the same context
as readers of print books and depend more on browsing and
keyword spotting rather than being 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 can
deepen research and lead to a more satisfying research experience
for the user. Ebooks may be navigated via:
• searching for keywords (if the reading device has a search function)
• the Table of Contents, which often links directly to the chapters in the book
• the Index, if there is one
• Ebooks can be read on a computer using ebook reading software designed to
display various file formats.
• 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 Reader Desktop.
• E-reading apps are needed for smartphones and tablets; they are downloaded via
each device's app store. eReading apps include: iBooks (for iPad), Aldiko (for
Android), Kindle (multi-platform), and Nook (multi-platform), among others.
• The format of ebook depends on the device used to read the ebook. It is important
to note that 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 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 are leaning toward two formats:
ePub and Adobe PDF.
• A comparison of ebook formats used for creating and reading ebooks is available
• 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
• 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 same
• 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
• used to be the most popular format but is becoming dated
• Amazon's proprietary format; a version of
Mobi (see above)
• can be read on mobile devices via the Kindle
• 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
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
• can be printed, copied, pasted, and
manipulated; no DRM
• 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
• compatible with iPhone, iPod Touch,
Blackberry, Windows, Mac, and Palm OS
Dedicated E-Readers (e.g., Amazon
Kindle, 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
• 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)
Tablets (e.g., iPad, Kindle Fire, Nook
• feature LCD display, with high resolution (similar to
• 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
• 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 model)
Mobile Devices (Phones)
• phones that can be used for reading
• include Blackberry, iPhone, Android
• small screen
• battery life comparable to cell phone
• convenient and lightweight but not good for
Dominant Brands in the Ebook
• Kindle by Amazon.com
• Kinde E-Reader Family
• Kindle (original)
• Kindle Paperwhite
• Kindle Paperwhite 3G
• Kindle Keyboard 3G
• Kindle Fire Family (tablets)
• Kindle Fire
• Kindle Fire HD
• Kindle Fire HD 8'9
• Kindle Fire HD 8'9 4G
Dominant Brands in the Ebook
• 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)
• Reader PRST2
• Reader PRST2HBC
• Xperia Tablet
• kobo mini
• kobo glow
• kobo touch
• kobo arc
Dominant Brands in the Ebook
• Apple iOS Devices
• iPad (the original; with Retina Display)
• iPad 2
• iPad mini
Other Devices used for Reading
• Google Nexus 4, 7, and 10
• Samsung Galaxy 4G Tablet
• Toshiba Folio
• Ectacto Jetbook Color 2
• Motorola XOOM
• teXet TB-436
• Bookeen Cybook Odyssey HD Frontlight
• txtr Beagle
• BeBook Pure
• JWF eReaderPRO
• Hanvon C18
• Kyobo Mirasol eReader
• Onyx Boox M92
• BeBook Club 'S'
• PocketBook 360 plus
• Pocketbook IQ
• Pocketbook ProBook 602/603 902/903
Useful sources of information on
• Wikipedia Comparison chart of ebook readers
• E-Reader-info.com Directory of E-Readers
• E-Reader-info.com 2013 Ebook Reader
Things to consider when deciding on
an ebook 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
• 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
• A fifth of American adults have read an ebook in the past year and the number of ebook
readers grew after a major increase in ownership of ebook reading devices and tablet
computers during the holiday gift-giving season.
• The average reader of ebooks says s/he has read 24 books (the mean number) in the past 12
months, compared with an average of 15 books by a non-ebook consumer.
• 30 percent of those who read e-content say they now spend more time reading, and owners
of tablets and ebook readers particularly stand out as reading more now.
• The prevalence of ebook reading is markedly growing, but printed books still dominate the
world of book readers. 72 percent of American adults had read a printed book and 11
percent listened to an audiobook in the previous year, compared with the 17 percent of
adults who had read an ebook.
• There are four times more people reading ebooks on a typical day now than in 2010. 49
percent of those who own ebook readers like the original Kindles and Nooks are reading an
ebook. And 59 percent of those e-reader owners said they were reading a printed book. On
any given day, 39 percent of tablet owners are reading an e-book and 64 percent were
reading a printed book.
How prevalent are ebooks in
E-book reading happens across an array of devices
• 42 percent of readers of ebooks in the past 12 months said they consume
their books on a computer.
• 41 percent of readers of ebooks consume their books on an e-book reader
like original Kindles or Nooks.
• 29 percent of readers of ebooks consume their books on their cell phones.
• 23 percent of readers of ebooks consume their books on a tablet
• Majority of print readers (54 percent) and readers of ebooks (61 percent)
prefer to purchase their own copies of these books. Meanwhile, most
audiobook listeners prefer to borrow their audiobooks; just one in three
audiobook listeners (32 percent) prefer to purchase audiobooks they want
to listen to, while 61 percent prefer to borrow them.
• Those who own e-book reading devices and tablet computers are more
likely than others to prefer to purchase.
The chart below shows the types of content respondents to the survey identified as ideal for
consumption in ebook format:
The chart below points to the demographics of ebook readers. The same survey found that those
who read ebooks are more likely to be under age 50, have some college education, and live in
households earning more than $50,000.
The effect of ebook growth on
In January 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 2010).
• 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
• According to a 2012 survey of public,
academic, and K-12 libraries conducted by
Library Journal and School Library Journal, the
following conclusions have been drawn about
the use of ebooks in various library settings
across the United States:
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%
From the LJ report: "Public libraries are on the front lines of the unresolved tug of war between
publishers, ebook vendors, and libraries. Draconian pricing, restrictions on access, crippling DRM,
and a morass of formats and devices present very real challenges to public libraries."
Ebook circulation in public libraries doubled from 2009 to 2010 and quadrupled from 2010 to 2011.
Ebook circulation 2009 2010 2011
Ebook circulation/usage 5,000 11,000 44,000
2012 saw increases in all categories of ebooks carried, but children’s and young adult
ebooks stood out.
Percent offering… 2010 2011 2012
Children’s ebooks 57% 76% 87%
Young adult ebooks 69% 80% 91%
In public libraries, the ePub format remains the preferred ebook format, followed by all others.
Preferred ebook formats... 2010 2011 2012
ePub 44% 63% 61%
Optimized for dedicated ebook device
(e.g., Nook, Sony Reader)
35% 40% 59%
Optimized for other mobile device (e.g.,
Smartphone, iPod Touch)
24% 23% 26%
PDF 42% 23% 18%
Kindle (AZW)(write-in answer) n/a 1% 12%
Full text HTML 20% 6% 7%
Other 8% 1% 2%
Don't know yet, ebooks haven't caught on
in my community
23% 2% 1%
Don’t know n/a 15% 11%
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
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
The size of ebook collections in school libraries rises with grade level, from elementary to
Average # ebooks
2010 49 45 47 60
2011 397 85 119 365
2012 725 320 435 1,525
Ebook circulation increased to an average of 421 in the 2010–2011 school year, up from
306 the previous year. Circulation increases were most notable in high school and middle
Elementary Middle/ Jr.
2009–2010 306 296 379 177
2010–2011 421 90 449 799
The following ebook categories were most in-demand by students:
Elementary school top in-demand ebook categories:
Children’s nonfiction (64%)
Children's fiction (52%)
Children’s picture books (50%)
Middle school top in-demand categories:
Middle grade fiction (58%)
Young adult (37%)
Middle grade nonfiction (23%)
High school top in-demand categories:
Reference ebooks (57%)
Young adult (47%)
Young adult nonfiction (29%)
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 phones?
• 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?