Students choose print over digital

Study finds that E-readers have yet to catch on with students

E-reader, textbooksAccording to a study by OnCampus Research, E-readers won’t be replacing printed books anytime soon.

Although they’re lighter and more convenient than carrying around a stack of textbooks, the OnCampus Research Electronic Book and E-Reader Device survey found that 92 per cent of students currently do not own an e-reader. Only 13 per cent of college students reported purchasing an electronic book of any kind in the past three months.

In a press release posted by the National Association of College Stores (NACS) OnCampus Research Manager Elizabeth Riddle said that students aren’t fully embracing the technology yet.

“The college-aged market is definitely a growth opportunity for companies providing digital educational products.”

So why aren’t E-readers replacing textbooks?

Most students still prefer printed books over digital. In a survey conducted last fall, NACS found that 74 per cent of college students preferred print over digital, a finding that was confirmed by the new OnCampus Research survey.

And those students who reported purchasing an e-book? Most of them didn’t even use an E-reader. Instead, approximately 77 per cent used a laptop or Netbook to read it, followed by desktop computers at 30 per cent, smartphones at 19 per cent, and e-readers at 19 per cent (tablet computers were dead last at only 4 per cent).

The majority of students who don’t currently own an e-reader are either not planning on buying one, or are unsure. Only 5 per cent plan on buying one any time soon. The most popular device among these students isn’t even a dedicated eReader- it’s an Apple iPad, at 26 per cent (followed by the Amazon Kindle DX and the Amazon Kindle 3, each at 15 per cent). For those who already own a digital reading device, the Apple iPhone is the most popular, closely followed by the Barnes & Noble Nook. Almost 25% have owned their E-reader for more than a year, and 14 per cent bought them within the past month.

Easy access, price, saving paper, and convenience were stated as reasons for considering digital books, with 83 per cent indicating the lighter weight as a reason for preferring  digital books over print.

According to the open-ended comments section of the survey, the cost of e-books is the top reason why most students aren’t ready to make the digital jump. And unlike printed books, e-books can’t be sold at the end of the semester. But money isn’t the only factor: other students stated that they would never purchase a digital textbook. Some prefer holding a physical copy of the book in their hands and being able to flip through the pages, highlighting and taking notes in the margins, while others are just worried about potential technical issues.

Despite these concerns, Ms. Riddle still expects E-books to start catching on. “We definitely are expecting an increase- of probably 10 to 15 percent by 2012,” she said in an article posted on Wired Campus.

-photo courtesy of goXunuReviews




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Students choose print over digital

  1. I would happyily use an e-reader rather than textbook if the e-reader was larger. It would have to be designed for textbooks and studying rather than novels. The current versions available are too small relative to the size of textbooks. I would like to be able to highlight key passages and view them as a summary on the reader as well. I think this idea needs to be pushed further.

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