College Students Want Their Textbooks the Old-Fashioned Way: In Print
(Press Release) New York, New York, January 6, 2011—Despite their fondness for social networking and cell phones, most college students say they prefer textbooks in printed rather than e-text form. Nearly 75% of students to recently respond to a major new research survey from the Book Industry Study Group (BISG) said they prefer printed texts, citing a fondness for print's look and feel, as well as its permanence and ability to be resold.
This finding was among many uncovered in BISG's inaugural survey entitled Student Attitudes Toward Content in Higher Education. The ongoing survey focuses on college student perceptions related to educational content and presentation media in the higher education market. It is powered by Bowker's PubTrack data, the publishing industry's exclusive resource for understanding buying behavior.
"Studies such as this enable informed decision-making," said Scott Lubeck, BISG's Executive Director. "College students are an exceptionally dynamic demographic, making the technology transformation underway within the higher ed market very hard to plot. Our ongoing survey of student attitudes will help everyone in the publishing business make sense of this changing market place by providing hard data on the impact of habits and preferences."
Although not the preferred textbook form for most college students, further data from the survey shows that e-texts do have fans. About 12% of the students surveyed—mostly males, and often MBA-seeking or distance learners—said they prefer e-texts to printed texts because of their lower cost, convenience and portability. In addition, online supplemental materials received favor from these respondents as well. Particularly online quizzes that tests students' understanding of a text's content and prepares them for exams.
The majority of survey respondents (60%) said they place high value on core textbooks—whether printed or electronic—most of which continue to be purchased at the college bookstore (65%). Online purchasing is growing, however. For example, one-fifth of students said they purchased textbooks from Amazon.com. Finally, perhaps because of rising purchase prices, renting a textbook—rather than purchasing or downloading—was preferred by 11% of surveyed students.