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Furman University Libraries started intentionally buying eBooks for our collection in 2001. From 2001-2013, Furman students used our eBooks only a few hundred times a year. In the fall of 2013, PASCAL, the South Carolina academic library consortium, purchased a collection of over 100,000 new eBooks to be shared by SC college and university students. These were added to our library catalog. Around the same time, the Furman Libraries expanded our general eBook collection from 12,000 titles to over 65,000 titles covering dozens of different subjects, including fiction.

With this increase in our ebook collection use exploded! In the 2013-2014 school year Furman students, faculty and staff used our eBooks more than 6,500 individual times.

eBook use

Along with this measured increase in use, students’ attitude toward eBooks and their usefulness may have reached a tipping point. In both 2012 and 2014 the Furman University Libraries administered the MISO survey to students. Three of the questions on this survey measured frequency of use, value and satisfaction with eBooks.

Students were asked “Over the course of a semester, on average how often do you use the following services –library eBook collections?” Frequency was measured on a five-point scale with 1 being “never” and 5 being “more than three times a week.”

Student Usage

In 2014 students reported a more frequent use of eBooks (m=2.04) than they did in 2012 (m=1.88). This reported increase in ebook use corroborates our usage counts above. According to the same survey, the importance students place on eBooks and their satisfaction with those offerings has also increased.