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The Reference Librarian

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Individual ownership of handheld e-readers is increasing exponentially. Limited budgets, accessibility issues, and the failure of many e-readers to meet academic needs prevent academic libraries from adopting them at faster rates. Librarians spend a considerable amount of time gathering information about e-readers prior to making an investment. This article provides a history of e-reader availability and selection in the United States, information on the challenges that academic librarians face in e-reader selection, and research results of various studies on e-book/e-reader use by students. The article reflects on the e-reader evaluation and decision-making process and makes recommendations for investment and training.


NOTICE: this is the author’s version of a work that was accepted for publication in The Reference Librarian. 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:

Rachel Wexelbaum & Plamen Miltenoff (2012): Challenges to E-Reader Adoption in Academic Libraries, The Reference Librarian, 53:3, 270-283.




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