15 October 2012

Devices and desires ...

Sooner or later, discussions about ebooks in academic libraries refer to the popularity of what used to be called (awkwardly) "e-reading devices" ie in current parlance Kindles, iPads and other similar tablets and e-readers.  One popular line of argument goes: because students have these devices we librarians need to buy lots of ebooks.

There is a lot to unpick here, in terms of what these devices are designed to do, library content and how they related to libraries.  This post is confined to a small bit of research I have done at this College, to find out more about student ownership of equipment.

In March 2012 I asked our graduate and undergraduate students which pieces of equipment they owned.  Of 177 respondents :

136 owned a desktop or laptop computer
11 owned an iPad
13 owned Kindle
7 owned another mobile reader.

Interestingly, in relation to ebooks, 50 students said that they printed out what they wanted and read that.

 A few weeks ago I thought I would take this further by asking new undergraduates what equipment they owned.  Of 105 students, all owned at least one piece of equipment :

95 owned a laptop or desktop PC
16 owned a Kindle
6 owned an iPad
4 owned either a tablet, or a smartphone on which they would read an ebook
None owned a Sony or other e-reader.

If your library has carried out similar research I'd be grateful if you would comment and share your figures.

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