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The shifting landscape of e‐books

Aline Soules (California State University, Hayward, California, USA)

New Library World

ISSN: 0307-4803

Article publication date: 9 January 2009



The purpose of this paper is to review the current state of e‐books, describing their potential scope, highlighting information from recent ebrary surveys in connection with the author's on‐the‐ground experience with students, and discussing the challenges of these evolving works.


The paper describes the need to broaden perceptions of e‐books in light of their extensive potential and scope. It highlights significant points in the ebrary surveys and compares them with the author's on‐the‐ground experience in a medium‐sized university with students who are less advantaged. It also presents the challenges librarians face, both currently and in the future, illustrating progress in some areas and emphasizing the growing complexity in managing these works.


Even as librarians cope with what can now be considered “traditional” e‐books, little attention is paid to the potential breadth and diversity of e‐books. The surveys show that librarians are only partially aware of students' perceptions about e‐books and that there are conflicting priorities among students, faculty, and librarians. Conclusions are that: even as librarians cope with the current state of e‐books, they must also plan for future types of e‐books; and there is a strong need for greater communication in the increasingly complex e‐book arena of selection, acquisition, collection integration, and instruction.


Much of the literature about e‐books deals with the pros and cons, either of e‐books or of e‐book readers. The paper lays out e‐book issues to foster further in‐depth discussion.



Soules, A. (2009), "The shifting landscape of e‐books", New Library World, Vol. 110 No. 1/2, pp. 7-21.



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