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This is an interesting sector where innovation is taking place on an almost daily basis. Given that some e-textbooks are merely e-books and little more than something like a fiction book on a Kindle it’s no wonder that some of the early efforts got a bad rap. It seems like any early use of electronic tools often merely duplicates the print version. It’s a start but it’s not sufficient to really take advantage of the opportunities of digitization and combination of collaboration and social web tools. Things have evolved a lot lately, though.

These links show the early reactions to early stage e-textbooks on campus.

College Students Prefer Print Over Digital Textbooks

“According to a study done by OnCampus Research, 74% of college students still prefer to use a printed textbook when taking a class. From the press release , “even with new digital handheld gadgets, smart phones, pads, and laptops glued to every college students hand, 74% still prefer to use a printed textbook when taking a class, according to the findings of a new Student Watch study conducted by OnCampus Research, a division of the National Association of College Stores (NACS) that helps companies better understand the college market.” The survey also found that 53% of students were unsure about purchasing digital textbooks or would not consider buying them even if they were available. Despite the findings, some anticipate digital textbook market share to rise to 18% by 2014.”

Students Give E-textbooks Failing Grade

“Interesting blog post from ereads summarizing several articles about student reactions to eBook readers and digital textbooks. A quote from the article states, “Students around the nation are flunking the format. They want their paper books back. It seems that e-readers are okay for reading, but textbooks are seldom read immersively like novels, and so far the e-books can’t match the functionality of good old paper.””

U. S. Digital Textbook Sales To Rise Dramatically


Posted on: June 30, 2010, 9:52 am Category: Uncategorized

2 Responses

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  1. Anna Dundas said

    Have to say I agree with you that the etextbook publishers and the ereader producers have not taken advantage of the technology available to them yet. I suspect that will change very soon. At the recent Digital Odyssey in Toronto, Dan D’Agostino talked about the vast difference between the academic and public consumption of ebooks. Very interesting. I suspect that an etextbook on a device like the iPad running a program like Blio might satisfy students’ needs.

  2. Carol Johnston said

    Hi Stephen,
    I think you’re right, e-books haven’t realized their potential. Frankly, I’d like an e-book that would let me toggle between reading and listening. I’d particularly like my narrator to be either Jim Dale or Kenneth Branagh. In a perfect world, why not? I understand the desire for paper, making notes in the margins, etc. I’m also struck by the expansion of choices and how we seem to embrace them all. By way of a vanilla example, I went shopping for ice cream. The store didn’t have the brands I preferred, so I sought out Breyers and was overwhelmed by their half a dozen or more vanilla offerings – with or without sugar, slow churned, French, Vanilla Bean, etc. It was a bit overwhelming, yet clearly there’s a market them. I’d love a textbook that would allow me to highlight the parts I found most relevant and then have it read only those parts back to me when I wanted to review. Or how about highlighting and sharing those sections in a social networking/study group context? The possibilities are as endless as user’s needs. Thanks for another interesting and thought provoking post.