Students Fail to Embrace Digital Textbooks



American students have yet to embrace digital textbooks in considerable numbers. Many of the top universities and colleges have a very slim minority that either use them exclusively or in parallel with print. A recent survey by Hewlett Packard illiminates the role digital is playing in the classroom.

HP conducted a survey last winter, talking to 527 students at San Jose State. 57% of the respondents said they prefer the standard textbook. A paltry 21% said they prefer the digital variant and 21% stated that they utilize both formats.

The preference for print was also much higher with ages 18 to 35 year-olds with 62%, which accounted for 75% of the respondents. Contrary to what most would expect, the younger and supposedly tech-savvy students are not all that into e-textbooks. The survey also reveals that Education and Library & Information Science students, representing 49% of the total respondents, used printed textbooks more than other majors, including Business and Science.


The sampling size of the survey was quite small and not indicative to all students, but it certainly is eye opening. The younger, more tech savvy demographic continues to use physical textbooks, instead of the digital editions.  As you can see from the chart above,  normal textbooks lead almost all categories.

via PW

Michael Kozlowski (5146 Posts)

Michael Kozlowski is the Editor in Chief of Good e-Reader. He has been writing about electronic readers and technology for the last four years. His articles have been picked up by major and local news sources and websites such as the Huffington Post, CNET and more. Michael frequently travels to international events such as IFA, Computex, CES, Book Expo and a myriad of others. If you have any questions about any of his articles, please send an email to

  • Alejandro Morales ☠

    That’s kinda sad. I’m student from Mexico and I’ve found more practical to use eBooks and eReaders because pricing (in Mexico, the digital editions cost likely 30% and 50% less money than the physical ones), light weight, interactivity and ecological reasons (less paper used=less dead trees)

  • Joanna Armstrong

    I see 78% of the respondants are female…I wonder what would happen to the results if it were 50% female and 50% male?