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eBook Adoption Surges Ahead Among UK Students, ebrary Reports

Ebrary is going to be releasing the results of a survey later this week at the University College London Ebooks and Elearning Conference, and in order to build the buzz they’ve released a few details early.

Building on the work in ebrary’s Global Student E-book Survey 2011, ebrary polled approximately two hundred students attending The University of Nottingham, University of Portsmouth, Coventry University, and The University of Central.

Ebrary found that over 85% of students in the UK indicated that they use ebooks up to 10 hours each week while only 10% reported that they never use ebooks.  This is a marked difference from the global survey, where 52% of the participants indicated they use ebooks as much as 10 hours a week with another 46% reporting that they never use ebooks.  What’s more, about 5% of UK students identified themselves as heavy ebook users , logging over 10 hours per week (compared to 2% of global respondents).

“ebrary was surprised to see such a variation of results in the UK,” said Kevin Sayar, President and General Manager of ebrary.  “One explanation may be that UK students know when they are using digital books, whereas other students may mistake e-books for online journals or other formats.  It is also possible that UK librarians are doing more in terms of e-book training and promotion.  We are excited to work with participating libraries, both in the UK and abroad, to dive deeply into this data and develop and share insights and best practices.”

The new results also showed that UK students were more likely to choose digital over paper than the respondents of the global survey (58% vs 48%), though I’m not sure whether that statistic can be trusted. There’s often an unpredictable difference between what people say they plan to do and what they really do.

Ebrary’s Global Student E-book Survey 2011 is based on questions asked of approximately 2600 college students, with around 75% of responses coming from the USA. Given the American concentration of the older survey, it’s interesting to note that the UK data agrees with the Wiggin survey results released a few weeks back. While the Wiggin poll covered devices, not activities, adding the 2 sets of results together show that the UK is noticeably drawing ahead of the US in both ebooks and ereaders.

I, for one, welcome our ebook reading British overlords.

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