I have a strong desire to study the impact of eReaders and eBooks. I have found very little evidence suggesting the benefits or drawbacks of eReaders. For example, does comprehension improve on an eReader platform? However, I do see some benefits for libraries. There is a discussion taking place on Slashdot debating the number of eBook downloads from Amazon. The fact that this debate is taking place shows the growth in eBook sales. While some have a fear that eBooks will replace physical books, I do not share in this fear. There is an information ecology. This ecology will easily adapt to the addition and increase in usage of eBooks. How many people debate the role of eJournals anymore?
eBooks eliminate some of the following issues:
1. No need to replace materials because of usage wear-and-tear. We have a project in which hundreds of books are going to need to be mended or replaced because of usage. eBooks do not seem to have this issue. Of course, the risk is having to replace an entire collection due to format change, but this is not likely to occur.
2. No need to conduct inventory or hunt for a misplaced book. eBooks are always where they are suppose to be. Of course links may change, but this is a much easier fix than hunting down a mis-shelved book.
3. Improved statistics. eBooks improve the statistics of collection usage. We will know what items have been viewed, check-out etc…