One of my “to do” activities this semester was to poll students about their preferences for book formats; in other words, I wanted to know what kinds of alternate “containers” they were interested in accessing books via the library.  Unfortunately, I am just now getting around to this endeavor, but today I kicked off my unscientific polling methods.  While we already have a healthy ebook collection with our Gale Virtual Reference Library and our ABC-CLIO eBook collection, I’m interested in delivering both nonfiction and fiction books in an alternate format to complement our print offerings.

My first polling method consisted of a simple poll I created with Microsoft Publisher.  I posted five questions and instructed students to choose any choices they felt applied to their interests.  I asked every student who approached the circulation desk after 11:00 AM today  to take just 30 seconds to respond to the written “checklist” style poll, and every student actually obliged.  While I will continue this polling method through December 14, here are the preliminary results:

In the interest of collecting some additional data quickly, I also decided to ask my two Media 21 classes to take the poll online  (created with Polldaddy) via our class blog today.  Students were told they could make more than one choice; roughly 50 or so students cast votes in the poll.

Which of the following reflect your interests as a reader? You may check more than one answer. via kwout

In looking at both sets of data, the numbers are roughly similar:

  • I would be interested in having access to and reading books on an eReader device like the Amazon Kindle or the Barnes and Noble Nook:  16% written poll, 23% virtual poll
  • I would be interested in being able to download audiobooks in a MP3 format to my iPod, Mp3 player, or computer:  23% written poll, 28% virtual poll
  • I would be interested in being able to check out books on CD:  14% written poll, 14% virtual poll
  • I would be interested in reading books online on the computer:  22% written poll, 10% virtual poll
  • I would be interested in reading books online via a web-based option on my computer or my iPod/smartphone:  25% written, 20% virtual poll

Note that with the written polls, I can actually see multiple answers (if indicated) each person indicated whereas that data is not clear per voter with the virtual poll.

I am interested in the data collection because it will be one of the “tools” I will use to make decisions about the directions my library program will take in purchasing digital book content.    While I have seen articles in the last few months saying teens are not interested in ebooks or reading books online, the results so far seem to indicate otherwise.  I’m looking forward to see the results of my data collection in another week and will share my findings with you then as I try to make sense of the data.