One in Six Own an eBook Reader in the US

At least according to this poll, conducted by private US research firm Harris Interactive. The poll includes some interesting numbers on the current (general) geographical distribution of e-readers, plans of consumers to purchase e-readers, and some broad numbers on the effects of e-readers on reading habits.

This report does not state how many people were polled, does not reveal standard measures of significance, and notes that the respondents were selected from “among those who have agreed to participate in Harris Interactive surveys” so your mileage may vary. Still, the results don’t seem unexpected to me.

The mixed results on the reported effects of e-readers on quantity of reading is borne out by other studies, most recently in Woody et al. (2010) but also in many other studies. The deep engagement with the text that is the gold standard of reading does not typically happen yet online. A great introduction to this area of study is free online in UNB librarian Barry Cull’s “Reading revolutions: Online digital text and implications for reading in academe” 16 (6) First Monday (30 May 2011) .

In legal education, there are a couple articles that grapple with the issues of teaching critical engagement with the print and online text, both by the same authors D.M. Curtis and J.R. Karp: 41 Willamette L. Rev. 293, and 30 Hamline L. Rev. 247. There is also an interesting book that purports to teach higher-level reading skills to law students, and which strikes me as a very useful text: R.A. McKinney Reading Like a Lawyer: Time Saving Strategies for Reading Law Like an Expert, (Durham, N.C.: Carolina Academic Press, 2005).

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