This recently published article in College & Research Libraries measured user opinions of e-books. The authors found that people generally fell into one of four main categories:
1. Book lovers - "have an inherent affinity for the print form. They cherish books as physical objects. Leisure reading is a very important component of their opinion on e-books, and they cannot imagine reading an e-book for pleasure."
2. Technophiles - "are strongly interested in the possibilities of new technology as regards the book. They feel as if the advantages in searching and access outweigh any downsides to e-books."
3. Pragmatists - "are the most neutral of the four types isolated, as they are most interested in content and see pros and cons to both formats."
4. Printers - "prefer print books but are distinguished from Book Lovers in that they have specific difficulties with the usability of e-books. This group simply cannot read text on a screen and needs to print any online texts with which they work."
Book Lovers, Technophiles, Pragmatists, and Printers: The Social and Demographic Structure of User Attitudes toward e-Books by Andy Revelle, Kevin Messner, Aaron Shrimplin, and Susan Hurst
The study found that overall, 34% of participants were Book Lovers, 22% Technophiles, 19% Pragmatists, and 28% Printers. The study also breaks these figures down by gender, departmental affiliation, and academic status. Some food for thought in terms of how we buy books and the preferences of our students and faculty.