Survey: Most Students Prefer Traditional Texts over E-Books
Nearly three quarters — 72 percent — of college students prefer traditional textbooks to electronic versions, according to a new survey
from Direct Textbook.
"Textbook purchasing trends align with the survey results," according to a news release. "According to the
Student Monitor, 87 percent of textbooks purchased by students in 2014 were print
editions (36 percent new, 36 percent used, 15 percent rented). E-books comprised only 9 percent of the market. The remaining 4 percent was made
up by file sharing."
Reasons commonly cited by students for preferring traditional books include:
- They are easier to read;
- Students like to physically highlight selections;
- They're cheaper;
- Students prefer the formatting;
- They're easier to navigate and bookmark;
- E-books make students' eyes hurt;
- Students find it harder to concentrate on e-books;
- Traditional books do not require Internet access;
- Students like to write on the pages;
- Tablets or laptops are not allowed in class;
- Availability of e-books is limited; and
- Students end up printing the pages of e-books anyway.
Among the 27 percent of respondents who do prefer e-books, common reasons for the preference include:
- E-books are cheaper;
- They are lighter;
- They don't have to be returned;
- They are more environmentally friendly than paper books;
- They are searchable;
- Print size and brightness is adjustable;
- They can convert text to audio; and
- They can be used with apps.
"Given the ubiquity of e-book-reading devices on college campuses, it's interesting that students prefer print textbooks over e-books, and
that purchasing behavior supports that sentiment," said Morgan MacArthur, chief technology officer at Direct Textbook, in a prepared
statement. "What's even more interesting are the differences in perception: both students who preferred textbooks and those who preferred
e-books cited lower prices as a reason."
Joshua Bolkan is the multimedia editor for Campus Technology and THE Journal. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.