ebooks, Library Information

Are print books becoming obsolete?

Statistics just out show that the use of ebooks across the University has increased dramatically this year compared to last. With 5 out of 10 of the top most accessed ebooks being Education titles we would have expected the use of our print books to decrease drastically too.  So do we still need print copies? Looking at the print use of our most borrowed titles which are available as ebooks the answer is more complex than you would expect.  Yes, there are significant drops in the print use of some titles but also, some surprising increases in the use of others.

 Increase or decrease in use of print copies of titles available as ebooks at the Faculty of Education Library during 2010-2011 compared with 2009-2010

Overall borrowing from the Faculty Library seems to be increasing too: figures for this Michaelmas Term (2011) show a small increase on those from two years ago (2009), despite a drop in student numbers and the increased availability of electronic material.

Figures from another library in Cambridge reveal a similarly complex picture:  Libby Tilley, the English Faculty Librarian, found that over the past 5 years there has been an overall slight increase in borrowing of the print Cambridge Companions which are all available as ebooks.

It looks as if students in the Humanities and Social Sciences still like to use print as well as ebooks, but what do you think? We are hoping that Faculty of Education staff and students will let us know their views via an online survey which we are launching on Thursday 8th March.  Watch this space for findings later on!