E-books: Books of the future

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/.

Image cour­tesy of Jas­mine Ayers — The Stinger
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