E-books are helping turn students into researchers. The convenience of online access allows users to view e-books off campus and throughout the day and night to find information on the move. The user doesn’t immerse themselves continuously as they might in a printed book. Instead they use e-books to find facts quickly – using research type skills to skim and scan the information to extract it for their assignments.
This type of user behaviour appears quite different from traditional print reading and therefore it looks as though students are using e-books and print books in tandem. The recent JISC national e-books observatory project report highlights this and suggests that e-books currently supplement print books rather than replace them. This was further evidenced through the analysis of the print retail sales of the e-books licensed for the project. The project found that there was no short-term, negative impact on the print sales.