Dispelling Myths about e-books
I just came across a study about e-book usage in UK universities and it’s made me very excited, particularly because I’ve recently signed a contract with Eternal Press for my novella, Blood Soup, to be published in both print and e-format this September.
More than 48,000 people answered the 2-part survey, making it the world’s largest e-book survey. (Wow!)
Joint Information Systems Committee (JISC) conducted the survey.
JISC “supports education and research by promoting innovation in new technologies.” (And I suspect sells textbooks, but I don’t know that for certain…)
According to their report (PDF), responses “point to a growing acceptance of e-books by the academic community, with both teaching staff and students making greater use of e-books…”
I realize that academic usage doesn’t often correlate to recreational usage of books, but I can’t help thinking that at least some of those university students reading their texts on-line, and enjoying the experience, will find themselves picking up other reading materials (read: fiction) in electronic format.
Some of the survey questions were general enough to relate to non-academic use:
|Q: Do you use e-books?|
|Students in a JISC Discipline||63.2%||65.5%||103.6|
|All other Students||61.4%||64.2%||104.6|
|Teachers in a JISC Discipline||57.0%||63.5%||111.4|
|All other teachers||58.9%||64.9%||110.2|
Also, according the survey, “well over one-third of students (42.2 percent) had consulted at least three eBook titles in the month prior to the survey.”
Here are a few other interesting findings:
- Books were available 24/7, but were most often read at lunchtime. (The one o’clock hour showed the most usage at 9%.)
- One-fifth (1/5) of all usage took place over the weekend.
- Students spent more time reading (as opposed to browsing information) over the weekend.
Sounds like a lot of recreational reading! These students might have been reading text-books for school, but it seems to me like they’re also building their non-school e-book reading habits.
You can read more about the survey at the JISC National e-books observatory project.