Every single year new statistics and polls emerge about digital textbooks in the classroom. Amazon, Barnes and Noble and Google have all tried very hard to offer digital editions for rent and resale, but they have not caught on in a meaningful way. A new report by the University of Washington found that even when eTextbooks are given away for free, students continue to buy print.
A recent pilot study from the University of Washington showed that about 25% of students who were given free versions of digital textbooks still went out and purchased a physical copy of the same book.
These are people who aren’t supposed to remember what it’s like to even smell books,” said Naomi S. Baron, an American University linguist who studies digital communication. “It’s quite astounding.”
Meanwhile a Student Monitor survey polled college students and found that 87% got their textbooks as physical books, whether renting, purchasing new or buying used.
Why are students continuing to buy print editions and not worry about digital? Many students believe that they comprehend the information better when they can read it on a page, build a cognitive map, and reference their highlighted and handwritten notes, and there is research to support these claims.
Michael Kozlowski has been writing about audiobooks and e-readers for the past twelve years. His articles have been picked up by major and local news sources and websites such as the CBC, CNET, Engadget, Huffington Post and the New York Times. He Lives in Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada.