To read the full version of this content please select one of the options below:

The future of eBooks? Will print disappear? An end‐user perspective

Wouter van der Velde (eProduct Management and Innovation, Springer, Heidelberg, Germany)
Olaf Ernst (eProduct Management and Innovation, Springer, Dordrecht, The Netherlands)

Library Hi Tech

ISSN: 0737-8831

Article publication date: 20 November 2009




The purpose of this paper is to find out whether eBooks are cannibalizing print books, as well as an assessment of factors that are influencing eBook usage. Ebooks are a hot topic. Traditional book publishing, especially in the academic world, is changing at a rapid pace. The question on everybody's mind is what direction book publishing will take? Will print survive in the Google‐generation, or is it destined to be totally replaced by eBooks? Springer publishes over 4,000 book titles annually, which are converted into eBooks almost without exception. Being the market leader and innovator of a new business model in electronic books in the STM area, Springer has conducted a study on the implications of the Springer eBook collection in comparison to its print book activities.


The study is based on interviews with both end‐users and librarians. In addition, Springer has assessed the (COUNTER‐compliant) usage statistics from SpringerLink.


Overall, Springer's eBook usage is already 50 percent of its journal usage, while the amount of content compared with journals is only 15 percent. Taking this success of eBook usage into account, Springer still believes strongly in the print model, and has recently launched MyCopy: heavily discounted print‐on‐demand books from the electronic versions.


The study shows that print and electronic can exist together, and will complement each other's strengths.



van der Velde, W. and Ernst, O. (2009), "The future of eBooks? Will print disappear? An end‐user perspective", Library Hi Tech, Vol. 27 No. 4, pp. 570-583.



Emerald Group Publishing Limited

Copyright © 2009, Emerald Group Publishing Limited

Related articles