Thursday, January 20, 2011
That's the finding of this informal student survey by an undergraduate professor who was interested in testing the validity of a formal survey of consumer book buying patterns. These results confirm earlier reports that students don't like e-books as much as p-books. In this most recent study, p-books crushed e-books:
Students in my course conducted a wholly unscientific survey of fellow students. A minority of the 176 students who were surveyed had bought and/or read an e-book, either for courses or for fun. Of that group, print was preferred to e-books ten to one. Of the students who had no experience with e-books, five said they'd choose an electronic format, all things being equal; 29 said they would buy an e-book if it was up to 1/3 cheaper - and 108 said they preferred print. I'd call that a landslide.
My prediction is that regardless of consumer preference, we'll see the publishers foisting more e-books on consumers because the profit margins are likely greater. Perhaps just as music companies phased out vinyl in order to force consumers to switch to CD's, publishers may unilaterally pull the plug on most p-books some day.