“I Don’t Like E-Books”

Brian Mathews, the librarian at Virginia Tech who writes the “Ubiquitous Librarian” blog for the Chronicle, posted something the other day that was so simple and so smart that I can’t stop thinking about it.  He said, “I met with a group of students earlier this month and the topic of eBooks came up. They unanimously expressed a preference for print. I was curious. What I found was that none of them had read a book on an eBook Reader. Their exposure was limited to viewing content via a web browser on a laptop. I don’t consider that reading an eBook.”

He didn’t take the students’ words at face value and conclude VT shouldn’t invest in e-books.  He probed deeper and learned that students weren’t using the technology that makes e-books most like paper books:  an e-reader or tablet.  I wonder how many of the other librarians who confidently assert that their students don’t want e-books have done the same.