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Award Report: Evaluating the Costs of Electronic Textbooks and Readers–Eastern University

Under the auspices of an NN/LM MAR  Small Projects Award, the staff of Warner Memorial Library at Eastern University (St. David’s, PA), Eastern University nursing students, and professional nurses were able to work firsthand with a variety of e-reader technologies.  Students from a nursing informatics class sampled the e-readers. The project was designed to evaluate the e-readers as tools to be used to reduce the cost of nursing textbooks and to demonstrate how faculty and students in the classroom setting could utilize the e-readers. The evaluation of the readers was based on the following criteria: 1) cost; 2) durability; 3) ease of use; and 4) sustainability.   The devices evaluated included the Kindle, Nook, Sony Digital Reader, and Velocity Cruz Readers.  Generally, for both student and professional nurses, the Kindle offered the best tool for reading e-books.

The evaluation of textbook cost benefits of e-readers continues. However, the e-readers provided a surprising unanticipated benefit, the sharing of notes and highlights via Twitter and Facebook. This made for a highly interactive sharing of readings. The social networking tools provided an added value above text cost saving for those considering using e-readers to deliver textbooks and journal articles to nursing students.

Mark Puterbaugh
Information Systems Librarian
Eastern University


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