Do E-Books Bridge the Digital Divide?
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Initially, the term digital divide referred to access to a computer and modem (U.S. Department of Commerce 1998). Today, digital divide includes having the aforementioned, as well as access based on gender, age, socioeconomic status, race and ethnicity, literacy, disability, geography, and education (Stevenson 2009). These demographic characteristics are often interrelated and may put individuals at risk of struggling to economically and socially participate in society. As e-books are usually accessed through an Internet connection and either a computer or an e-reader, it is important to understand low-income individuals' ability to purchase these items. Lack of access to the Internet and a computer renders advances in e-books irrelevant to this segment of the population. This chapter will discuss issues of household incomes and access to digital technology and information, implications for libraries, and how librarians and social service providers can work together to bridge the digital divide so that e-books are more accessible to all.
Twill, S. E.
(2012). Do E-Books Bridge the Digital Divide?. No Shelf Required 2: Use and Management of Electronic Books, 17-34.