An investigative analysis of e-book adoption in the GMIT library, as reflective of global trends.
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The history of e-book adoption is documented in the literature. Initially, a lack of e-book content was a major stumbling block, and it wasn’t until 2003, when Amazon scanned 120,000 e-books, that content began to increase. Profit-making organisations, such as Amazon, introduced new business models and formats that significantly changed the market. Part of the fallout of these developments was a lack of standardisation and interoperability issues that hindered the popularity of e-books. However, gradually, more content came on stream, and new reading devices such as the Amazon Kindle and the Apple iPad acted as enablers of e-books. The aim of this paper is to determine if the GMIT library is in line with e-book global trends, and the challenges and benefits associated with these. The research methodology consists of a triangular method of qualitative research to prove its findings, namely, a literature review, a case study and a focus group of GMIT library acquisition staff. The findings suggest that GMIT library is in line with global trends. The ubiquity of mobile devices, new technologies and greater content have all contributed to an increase in the number of e-books worldwide. Challenges remain, particularly with regard to complex business models and formats. Conclusions are that complexity, in both the technological and business sphere, hindered the early adoption of e-books. Multiple formats and devices that do not talk to each other establish barriers to growth. Print will co-exist with e-books, as they are both used for different purposes. Recommendations suggest the removal of all complexity, with more streamlined business models standardised across the publishing industry, as well as the provision of multiple formats that can be read across all platforms and devices. From the end user perspective, the removal of restrictive Digital Rights Management (DRM) will increase e-book usage and the VAT rate should be removed in line with print books.
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