Attitudes towards and use of ebooks at the University of Canterbury
Research Problem: There is a contradiction surrounding ebooks in that they are becoming more and more common in academic libraries but evidence often suggests that users still prefer print books to ebooks. The purpose of the study is to examine how users at the University of Canterbury are using the Library’s ebooks and what their attitudes towards ebooks are. The study also looks at what role age, gender, academic status and college affiliation play in shaping attitudes towards and use of ebooks. Methodology: The study used an online survey to discover how ebooks were used and viewed by users at the University of Canterbury. The survey was largely quantitative but included several comments sections where users could give more qualitative answers. The population sampled was the academic staff and PhD students of the University of Canterbury. Results: The results show that the participants are mostly aware of and using ebooks. Opinion is still divided on ebooks with some user still preferring print and many users preferring access to both print and ebooks. Age, gender, academic status and college affiliation all have some effect on attitudes towards and use of ebooks. Implications: Academic libraries need to take note of the opinions their users have about ebooks so as to better meet their needs. Some of the problems around ebook use can be solved by increased user education but others are the result of restrictions placed on ebooks by publishers and vendors. Other problems are inherent to the ebook format and cannot be ignored. Academic libraries can best meet their users’ needs by providing both print and ebook collections were possible.