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Open Access Knowledge and Scholarship


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Academic libraries are currently questioning whether or not to invest in Kindles (or other mobile EBook readers, in this paper referred as “ereaders”) to increase access to electronic books (EBooks). The decision making process is influenced by monthly subscription costs, limited resources for academic libraries, maintenance costs, and license agreements—as well as demand for online reference books and textbooks. While academic libraries decide how to increase access to EBooks, and where to build EBook collections, the focus on “convenience” often overrides a deeper conversation on how a fast, large-scale replacement of paper books with EBooks may affect student reading comprehension or retention of information. In addition, similarly to academic librarians’ consideration of taking “diversity” into account when building subject collections, it is also necessary to take the “diversity” of reading styles and user behaviors into account when developing collections.

This paper will present a bibliographical overview of the literature on EBooks and short historical overview of EBooks. Therefore, the authors of the paper, an educator, a librarian and information specialist, intend to establish the foundation for a future research on the importance of EBooks for education, reading comprehension in particular.


NOTICE: this is the author’s version of a work that was accepted for publication in Bibliosphere. Changes resulting from the publishing process, such as peer review, editing, corrections, structural formatting, and other quality control mechanisms may not be reflected in this document. Changes may have been made to this work since it was submitted for publication. A definitive version was subsequently published as:

Wexelbaum, Rachel, Plamen Miltenoff, and Susan Parault (2011) "EBooks and Reading Comprehension: Perspectives of Librarians and Educators." Bibliosphere, No. 14. Available online at



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