January 19, 2010
E-textbook sales rising
According to the Chronicle of Higher Ed, a leading publisher of e-textbooks reports that sales increased 400% during the year that just concluded. Moreover, a recent survey of 16,000 college students found that at least 42% of them have purchased, or "seen," at least one e-textbook.
CourseSmart does not disclose exact values, but Frank Lyman said students who have used the company's e-textbooks number in the hundreds of thousands.
"It has enormous value to students not to lug a printed textbook around," Mr. Lyman said. "They can log in anywhere and access their textbooks, and for a lot of students, that's a better solution."
About 42 percent of students have either purchased or at least seen an e-textbook, according to "OnCampus Research Student Watch 2010," a 16,000-student survey released by the National Association of College Stores in fall of 2009. That's an increase of 24 percentage points from 2007.
Charles Schmidt, a spokesman for the association, said an increase could come as e-textbook technology improves and student who used the Internet from a younger age reach universities. The National Association of College Stores predicts 10 to 15 percent of college-store textbook sales could be digital by 2012, up from 2 to 3 percent of sales that are digital now.
"They're still kind of digital immigrants, the people who are in college right now," Mr. Schmidt said. "Also, your typical e-textbook is kind of a glorified PDF of the hard copy, and students are not necessarily enamored with that."
One major factor affecting students choice is price, said Nicole Allen, textbooks advocate for the U.S. Public Interest Research Groups. E-textbooks are often cheaper--Mr. Lyman said CourseSmart e-textbooks are about 50 percent of the cost of a new textbook on average--but can't be sold back.
For more on the disadvantage of "licensed" e-books versus "purchase-to-own" hardcopies (especially when it comes to resale rights) see this earlier post from the Law Librarian Blog here as well as this post from the Legal Writing Prof Blog.
January 19, 2010 | Permalink