Landoni, M., & Hanlon, G. (2007). E-book reading groups: Interacting with e-books in public libraries. Electronic Library, 25(5), 599-612. Retrieved 1/22/2008 from LISTA database.
In this UK case study, willing participants from two pre-existing book clubs were given electronic books on PDA’s to use for a month in lieu of their usual paper copies. After this period, they filled out questionnaires and took part in discussions on the usability of these devices, their impressions of e-books and their reactions to reading using this technology.
This study points out some advantages to e-books (namely that they are cheaper, easier and quicker to produce, their portability and their ease of use for individuals with print disabilities). For libraries, they are beneficial in that they cannot be stolen, do not need to be signed out, and do not need to be purchased in multiple copies (no waiting lists!). This multi-user access is a great benefit, and makes it very easy for libraries to organize and encourage book clubs.
Participants’ reactions were quite strong. Although they used the devices and found certain advantages to them, they reported feeling as though they had betrayed the print medium. Researchers found that these participants had very strong attachments to the print form of books. Not surprisingly, they suggested that further study might benefit from focusing on a population that is more open to electronic formats, perhaps organized specifically around the idea of an electronic book club. Such a study would indeed be useful for studying the dynamics of the group as well as the way the medium is received by individuals who have joined of their own volition.