eBooks and Shameless Self-Promotion

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From: Janie Wilkins (wilkins@princeton.lib.nj.us)
Date: Thu Sep 28 2000 - 16:05:47 PDT

I've been getting lots of press in the local Princeton newspapers
lately, which feels kind of cool. It's not often that librarians are
featured in news stories. I even have my photo in one of the stories
(although all you can see is my profile as I sit at the reference desk):


One of the other stories came out when I was launching a new program for
the library to test out the viability of circulating eBooks. I am quoted
in this article numerous times, although not always accurately.

For the record, I did not say "Bibliophiles should not fear" as if I was
"Superlibrarian" coming to the rescue of readers of everywhere. I said
something to that effect, but it got paraphased in to a phrase that
makes me sound like more of a geek than I already am (notice that it is
*not* in direct quotes).
<end of self-promotion>

In any event, 6 Rocket eBook Readers have been circulating at my library
for two months now and I have gathered some interesting statistics
thanks to a survey that each patron fills out when they are returned.

These stats are based upon a small sample (as of yet) that totals 20 of
the respondents who have checked out eBooks:

14 patrons have been female and 6 patrons have been male (why aren't the
men checking them out?)

3 patrons who have checked out the eBook have been over the age of 70
and another 5 were between the ages of 60-69 (this I find somewhat
surprising, but not entirely given the demographics of the town)

6 patrons were between the ages of 40-59 and 2 were in the 30-39 age

Not a single soul in the 20-29 age bracket has checked out an ebook and
only 2 patrons in the 13-19 and 12 and under age brackets have checked
one out. (why aren't the younger generation checking them out?)

When asked to rate their experience with the eBook on a scale of 1-10,
the average score came out to be 7.2 and 9 of the people rated their
experience as being 8 or better.... yet, only 6 patrons indicated that
they would prefer to read their next book in eBook format and 10 said
that they would be sticking to paperback or hardback in the future....4
people indicated that they would likely purchase an eBook as a result of
checking one out from the library.

I have lots of other stats that I could compile from this survey, but I
will wait until I have a larger sample before I jump to any conclusions.


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