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An evaluation of second-generation ebook readers

Gibson, C. and Gibb, F. (2011) An evaluation of second-generation ebook readers. Electronic Library, 29 (3). pp. 303-319.

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This study seeks to evaluate a selection of second-generation ebook readers in order to determine which devices deliver the best experience for the user, in terms of functionality and overall experience. The technical and physical elements of the devices are also compared. This paper starts with a brief discussion of the current ebook marketplace, and previous studies that evaluate ebook readers. It then reports on a study in which 33 Master's students from an Information and Library Studies course were each given an ebook reader and asked to complete a task designed to engage them with the device. The participants then evaluated the devices by completing a questionnaire. A discussion of the results of the study and implications for the development of ebook reading devices follows. Although some issues, specifically size, weight, and screen quality, have been addressed in the new generation of ebook readers, some residual dissatisfaction remains. The participants in the study preferred to use devices with which they were familiar. This study provides guidance on the usability of ebook readers and provides insights into the future of ebook reading devices. It will be of benefit to information professionals seeking to utilise ebook reading devices, and to designers of ebook readers.