News

Not everyone ready for the digital textbook revolution

By Dennis Carter, Assistant Editor
June 9th, 2010

Nine out of 10 Darden School of Business students said they would recommend the Kindle as a "personal reading device," though only 2 of 10 would recommend it for class readings.

Don’t let the iPhones and BlackBerries fool you: Research and a recent pilot program that put eReaders in college students’ hands suggest that most students aren’t ready to read their textbooks electronically, despite the proliferation of internet-ready mobile devices on campuses nationwide.

In fact, 74 percent of students surveyed by the National Association of College Stores (NACS), a nonprofit trade organization representing 3,000 campus retailers, preferred printed textbooks for their college classes.

The study, released May 25, also found that more than half of college students surveyed on 19 campuses said they “were unsure about purchasing digital textbooks or would not consider buying them even if they were available.”

Laura Cozart, a research manager for NACS, said the overwhelming preference for traditional textbooks was “not surprising,” because “every new innovation takes time before the mainstream population embraces it.”

NACS member stores offering digital educational content that can be accessed on eReader devices reported that eBooks make up 2 to 3 percent of their sales. Cozart said that figure could jump to 15 percent by 2012, as eBook manufacturers make their content more interactive and faculty become accustomed to electronic texts.

Students’ reluctance to embrace digital books doesn’t mean they’re not reading other content on their web-ready mobile devices. Forty-one percent of students said they “regularly” access reading materials from the BlackBerries, iPhones, and similar devices, according to the NACS survey.

Meanwhile, the University of Virginia’s Darden School of Business announced May 11 that faculty members and students preferred printed textbooks over electronic versions after a pilot program with the Amazon Kindle DX…

Read the full story on eCampus News.