Must Printed Books Become a Thing of the Past in Academic Libraries?

The preferences of undergraduate and graduate students are examined for print and electronic resources including books, journals, magazines, newspapers, and comics, both in terms of leisure reading and reading undertaken for academic purposes. Concerns about e-book-only library collection policies are raised. Results are surprising given that libraries increasingly emphasize e-books and journals in lieu of print. The surveyed student prefer receiving content of perceived lasting value in the form of textbooks and other works in print form, but that when content is perceived as having short-term value only, such as matter appearing in newspapers, journal, and magazine articles, the digital format is seen as more apropos. Digital and print are still seen as having their respective advantages and disadvantages. It can be concluded that printed books should not be seen as “things of the past” in academic libraries.

The New Best Sellers: Implications of Media Convergence for Best-Seller Theory

As a result of increasing media convergence and the emergence of new formats and outlets for literature, the best-seller terminology needs to be revisited and revised. This article examines the best-seller theory against the backdrop of the current publishing environment and brings a new perspective to the ongoing debate on what constitutes a best seller. The author discusses the validity of formerly established criteria such as region, medium, and outlet and argues in favour of a more comprehensive understanding of the best-seller phenomenon. The article provides an overview of the contributions in this field and the existing best-seller terminology, drawing on the works of Escarpit, Sutherland, Bloom, Grøn, Helgason, Kärrholm, and Steiner. To reflect the changes in the publishing environment and the consequently more complex constellation of best-seller criteria, the study specifies and adds to the terminology of the field.

Are We Throwing out the Books with the Bathwater?: Dilemmas over New Directions in Library Design

The growing popularity of digital media has led to a fundamental re-evaluation of the role of libraries as they strive to maintain their relevance to their patrons’ changing needs. This is having a significant impact on their design and space use requirements, including a reduction in the areas dedicated to book stacks. However, recent research suggests that the trend toward digital may be changing with a resurgence of physical media. Is there risk of losing the essential qualities that make libraries such distinct and appealing places as stacks are replaced by more informal spaces and increasingly diverse activities? This article discusses trends in library design, investigates the long-term effects of adopting new activities, and considers the extent to which these new activities should replace books. Referring to recent research on reading habits and to examples of contemporary library architecture, this article cautions against the wholesale relegation or removal of physical books for a number of reasons—not least because buildings evolve much more slowly than digital technologies, and once adaptations are made they are likely to be long lived.