Random anecdotes about eBooks

First one. I was working on the Reference desk when a young student asked for a book (a critical discussion of a famous author) which was in the online catalog. We had it in electronic form only. She insisted that she wanted the print book and asked me if I could locate a print copy. I discovered that one of our local libraries did indeed have the book in print form but it was twenty miles away. Well, this young student who looked like she would rather be out dancing than searching for a print book, set off twenty miles to check out that book.

Second anecdote. A young, fresh-faced enthusiastic student (sophomore) at the College of Charleston somehow found my office up on the second floor of the Addlestone Library. It was nearly 5 o’clock and I was thinking of leaving. Anyway, he was looking for a print book which the online catalog said was being processed in technical services. He said he desperately needed the book for a paper he was writing that was due in a two days. So, I looked in the online catalog myself and discovered that we also had an eBook version of the very same book. I told him he was in luck. He could see the book now, online. He said, “I know, but I want the real book.” To make a long story even longer, we found the print book in processing and the student went away happy. The book (transportation was the subject) he wanted was a quasi-textbook if you know what I mean.

And third anecdote. A young man was complaining about his heavy bookbag. “Man, I want all this stuff to be electronic so I don’t have to carry all this heavy stuff around.” Good point.

Fourth anecdote. About a different kind of textbook. A psychology professor on our campus was very enthusiastic. She agreed to let a publisher use her class as an experiment with a different type of textbook — a looseleaf binder that students could remove and file pages in at will. She thought this was a grand idea and so did the students. At least initially. But it didn’t work out because pages went missing and content was lost.

I am still collecting anecdotes.

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