E-books: Books of the future

Jasmine Ayers -- The Stinger
Are e-books the books of the future? According to Deb Nordgren, the director of the Jim Dan Hill Library, they are. Nordgren believes that the use of e-books are increasing amongst students. According to Nordgren, the Online Computer Library Center shows studies from 2005 to 2010, e-book sales have increased by [1544 percent]. Today’s technology has also made e-books more accessible. An example that Nordgren gave came from a report from Amazon, stating that more Kindle e-books than hardcover print books were purchased from May to July 2010.

Thomas Erickson, a sophomore at UWS believes that e-books are progressing because “They’re more convenient for people. People don’t have to go out and buy the books; they’re all in one place, books are cheaper, and some books are even free.” Thomas has a Nook himself and says that they’re great for reading at night as well, but he still prefers having a printed book.

The University of Wisconsin System Libraries originally purchased e-books in 2000 due to the accessibility and availability. Nordgren says that when the library’s main collection was lost after the flood in June, they knew they could quickly get access to e-books to meet many of the students’ needs. The Jim Dan Hill Library had subscribed to two e-book packages that contained over 150,000 titles which were available shortly after classes began in the fall. Nordgren states, “We have been monitoring the use and are excited to see higher use than anticipated.” According to her, more than 500 e-books have been searched within the UW-Superior system over a variety of subjects during October.

UW-Superior’s library has been able to replace more than 3,000 print books so far and the garden level of the library has just recently opened back up. Nordgren states that they could easily and quickly provide access to e-books, which are used for distance learners as well as busy on-campus students who don’t have time to walk to the library to check out books all the time. Students also do not need i-pads or nooks to read e-books, as they can be viewed on a computer. Anyone can download entire books or just review certain pages or chapters.

The library staff worked with UWS Technology Services to purchase and setup e-readers that are now available for use. Students and staff who are interested can check out the new iPads and Nooks.

Tablets and smaller computers are on the rise in consumer demands. Nordgren, about 10 percent of UW-Superior students have responded to a 2012 national survey on the use of technology and the results indicate that out of the students that responded, more than 90 percent of them either have a tablet or smartphone.

“E-books are definitely the future for books,” says Nordgren. According to her, YPB Library Services [the leading academic book vendor], reports that 75 to 80 percent of academic books are currently being published as e-books. Nordgren believes that, “While we won’t be able to replace all of our older materials with e-books, going forward we expect to purchase more e-books than print books. Because of the potential for making e-books more interactive I think we will all enjoy using e-books in the future.”

For students or staff seeking assistance, you can call the Reference Desk at 715-394-8341.  Users can also send an email to askref@uwsuper.edu or use the AskRef chat found on the Library’s webpage at www.uwsuper.edu/library/.

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