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Usage patterns and perception toward e-books: experiences from academic libraries in South Korea

Jae-Young Hwang (Library Division, Agency for Defense Development, Daejeon, Republic of Korea)
Jayhoon Kim (Department of Overseas Information, Korea Institute of Science and Technology Information, Daejeon, Republic of Korea)
Boram Lee (Department of Overseas Information, Korea Institute of Science and Technology Information, Daejeon, Republic of Korea)
Jeong Hwan Kim (Department of Overseas Information, Korea Institute of Science and Technology Information, Daejeon, Republic of Korea)

The Electronic Library

ISSN: 0264-0473

Article publication date: 29 July 2014

Abstract

Purpose

This study aims to investigate and analyze the usage patterns of electronic book (e-book) users and their perceptions of e-books from various perspectives. Recently, e-book usage and subscriptions at university libraries in South Korea have significantly increased.

Design/methodology/approach

The authors conduct an extensive survey of 959 e-book users at the five major university libraries, which subscribe to the most e-books in South Korea. The survey contains structured questions as well as fields for open commentary to acquire various opinions. The authors also apply diverse analysis techniques, depending on the characteristics of the survey questions.

Findings

Since the early 2000s, when e-books were first introduced, there has been a considerable change in perception and increase in usage of e-books at South Korean university libraries. Despite this progress, most functions of e-books are not fully utilized. The authors find the role of the library to be very important, as most users learn about and access e-books through the Web sites of university libraries, not through such portal sites as Google. The remarkable result is that users with higher education more easily recognize and have better experiences with e-book services.

Originality/value

This study draws extensive samples and objective questions compared to previous research. The authors also contrast our research results with the other studies conducted within and outside of South Korea. The research shows the changes and differences in perception and usage of e-books by period and country. More importantly, the authors suggest strategies to boost e-book use based on user demands.

Keywords

Citation

Hwang, J.-Y., Kim, J., Lee, B. and Hwan Kim, J. (2014), "Usage patterns and perception toward e-books: experiences from academic libraries in South Korea", The Electronic Library, Vol. 32 No. 4, pp. 522-541. https://doi.org/10.1108/EL-11-2012-0150

Publisher

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Emerald Group Publishing Limited

Copyright © 2014, Emerald Group Publishing Limited