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Student Perceptions and Use of Ebooks

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Research questions

  • How do U of G students use and experience ebooks for their academic work?
  • Where do they find ebooks?
  • What features do they value?
  • What are their expectations and when do they prefer printed books or ebooks?


  • Seventeen students completed a diary entry each time they interacted with an ebook over the Fall 2013 semester.

What did we learn?

  • For the most part, students are reading academic ebooks on laptops and desktops, rather than dedicated ereaders.
  • Both ebooks and print books have their place. Whether a student chooses to use an ebook or a print book at any given time depends on a variety of factors: personal comfort, availability, convenience, intended use, and cost.


  • The ideal ebook is in PDF format and can be downloaded and stored on a device.
  • Address technical issues with problems of off-campus authentication and limits on number of concurrent users.

Year of Study


The library is committed to ensuring that members of our user community with disabilities have equal access to our services and resources and that their dignity and independence is always respected. If you encounter a barrier and/or need an alternate format, please fill out our Library Print and Multimedia Alternate-Format Request Form. Contact us if you’d like to provide feedback: lib.a11y@uoguelph.ca