The Future of Academic Reading: E-books and E-readers

We’ll be live-blogging both sessions of the Future of Academic Reading today, so if you can’t make it, tune in!

(First Session starts at 10:30 am. Come join us if you can! There’s food!)

We have eight panelists here to discuss their use of ebooks and ereaders. Pretty good crowd for Monday morning after Spring Break.

Panelist breakdown: Professor (3); Student (3 seniors); Grad Student (3);

Devices currently used to read full-length books: Kindle (5); iPad (1); phone (1); nook (1)


Question 1: What device do you use to read full-length books? How long have you had it? What made you decide to try one? Have you tried any other devices?

Andy, on what made him like the Kindle: [Sony 500 eReader (recreation reading); Kindle (recreation; research reading)] “The good thing about this is I can underline and take notes and they are automatically synced with my computer.”

Chad, on what he likes about e-readers: [Kindle (pleasure reading plus homework)] “I can even see what other people have marked. There’s an option to see the Most Marked Passages and see what other people are finding important. It’s almost like having a discussion.”

Kristy, on kids using the iPad: [doesn’t own any sort of e-reader; uses her computer to read ebooks and pdfs. She does check-out an iPad to take to a 3rd grade classroom to study the difference of how kids interact with the ebook compared to print] “Kids seem to find [the iPad] really easy to use and it’s adaptable.”

Bethany, on a downside of the Kindle: [Kindle (leisure reading)] “Can’t imagine taking a text-book and reading it on a 6-inch screen.”

Savilla, on possible distractions reading on an iPad: [nook; Kindle; iPad; phone] “I read in a hyperlinked way, anyway.”

Willie: [phone, using the Kindle app] “You get used to [reading on a phone] and you realize you can read a few pages on the bus or wherever.”

Simon, on why he wanted the Kindle: [Kindle] “I’m an early adopter of technologies, so I coveted it.”

Alex, on switching to Kindle: [Kindle (pleasure reading, database articles, ILLiad articles); Kindle app on Mac] “I bought my Kindle for two reasons. One because I packed up all my books when I moved to Bowling Green and I never want to do that again. And the other reason is when I was looking at textbook prices.”

Christine, on choosing nook: [nook (pleasure reading)] “I tried a Kindle, but I wanted to be able to buy more space for it and I liked that it was run by Android.”


Question 2: Where and when are you using your ereader? What kind of e-books do you read? Have you tried different kinds of content?

Gwen, our moderator, notes that a few of our panelists seem to be reading more because they own e-readers. Chad agrees, but says that change has only started for him.

Kristy, who is studying the comprehension differences for print and ebooks (on an iPad) in 3rd graders, noted that she actually didn’t find a huge difference in comprehension between the formats, but the kids all wanted to read from the iPad and were more focused because of it.

While many of our panelists prefer to read in their homes, a few noted that the ereaders have enabled them to read on the run, for shorter periods of time. (Also of note, only three people said they carried books with them everywhere they went before owning an ereader.)

Simon is our first panelist to admit that he does still buy physical books because he likes the package of the physical book. (A self-proclaimed bibliophile.)

Two panelists have said that poetry is not readable on the Kindle.

An audience member says that he can now read in the car on his Kindle, whereas reading a print book would make him car sick.


Question 3: In an ideal world, how would the library supply ebooks to you? Which ebooks do you want? How would you get them from the library? How would you be able to use them?

One of our panelists would love access to as much material as possible on their ereader, while another would really just like new releases.

Savilla, one of the professors on our panel, would like the library as an institution to help work out license issues. She would love to be able to purchase x-number of licenses for ebooks or apps, have that go to the individuals in her class, then have them expire at the end of the term.

Willie thinks that simultaneous uses is the way to go. He doesn’t want to have to wait for ebooks like he does for physical books that are in use.

Alex just added a second on getting new material in the library in e-form. He would also like a way to request a book and having it delivered (and renewable) on his Kindle. In addition, he would like the databases to have more HTML full-text because the PDF full-text doesn’t really jive with Kindle and he spends a lot of time reformatting.


Questions from the audience:

How much research did you do before you purchased your e-reader?

Most of our panelists did SOME research (if they didn’t receive it as a gift) before purchasing. Cost factored in for most, but others asked people they saw using ereaders in public. From the audience we had one person purchase a nook because the library option and someone else purchased a Kindle because it didn’t drastically change their reading experience.

How long would you like an ereader to circulate from the library?

Two weeks or longer. (With the ability to get books/apps/etc.)


That’s it for the first session! Tune back in for the afternoon session!

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