Wednesday, February 15, 2012

Undergrads continue to resist e-textbooks

From the College and University Libraries ("CULS") journal, comes this article entitled The Customer Is Always Right? Resistance from College Students to E-Books as Textbooks, 2 Journal CULS 35 (2012).  To date textbook publishers have met unexpected resistance to a format that everyone assumed digital natives would immediately embrace. It's a story we've been following for a while (here, here and here). This most recent article summarizes some of the student opinion surveys on e-textbooks versus the traditional kind and offers suggestions for how publishers might better address students' concerns.  From the abstract:

As the reign of the e-book continues to expand, more emphasis is being placed on e-books within the academic community, particularly with the idea of e-textbooks. Conventional wisdom suggests that in the same way the e-books now hold a major share of the book market, e-textbooks will continue to expand until they are also the dominant mode of textbook publishing. It also would be expected that current students in colleges and universities, who are usually described as digital natives, would embrace this technology wholeheartedly, but indications from currently-available research suggest the situation may not be as clear-cut. Recent studies have focused on the perceived impediments to e-textbook use from the student‟s point of view. Collectively, they provide some guidance for appropriate modification of the technology, and suggest ways in which libraries and instructors might market e-textbooks more effectively.


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