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Four New Studies and Infographics on Digital Textbooks

Four New Studies and Infographics on Digital Textbooks:

1. Most U.S. College Students Now Prefer Digital Reading

“The majority of U.S. college students now prefer digital formats whether they’re reading textbooks or “fun” books, according to a new survey from the Pearson Foundation.
“Survey on Students and Tablets 2012”  polled 1,206 U.S. college students and 204 college-bound high school seniors. Some findings:
  • College students prefer digital over print for “fun” reading (57 percent) and textbook reading (58 percent), “a reversal from last year, when more students preferred print over digital.” Pearson says the trend is also apparent among high-school seniors (though it doesn’t break out which format the majority prefer), “and is mostly driven by an increase in the preference to use tablets for reading.” The study doesn’t ask whether students are using tablets or e-ink e-readers for reading.
  • A quarter of college students now own a tablet, compared to just 7 percent last year. Seventeen percent of college-bound high school seniors own a tablet, compared to four percent last year.
  • Thirty-five percent of college students who own a tablet also own “an e-book reader or small tablet device.”
  • Among college students who own tablets, the iPad is the most popular (63 percent), followed by the Kindle Fire (26 percent) and Samsung Galaxy Tab (15 percent).”

Source and Links available at []

2. Digital Dependence of Today’s College Students Revealed in New Study from CourseSmart™
Findings show college students feel helpless without technology—checking their devices at least every 10 minutes and foregoing face time for Facebook

SAN MATEO, Calif., June 1, 2011 /PRNewswire/ — CourseSmart™, the world’s largest provider of eTextbooks and digital course materials, and Wakefield Research, a consultancy specializing in strategic and tactical research, recently completed a survey of more than 500 currently enrolled college students, providing insight on how mobile devices and technology have changed the traditional college experience and the role technology plays in students’ academic abilities and success.  Today’s students are truly carrying a digital backpack with nearly a quarter (27%) of students surveyed listing their laptop as the most important item in their bag—almost three times the number of students who chose textbooks (10%).

The findings further reveal that students are completely dependent on technologies—eReaders, Smartphones, laptops and more—to get through their daily college routine. Nearly all of the students surveyed (98%) own a digital device. And 38% of students surveyed said that they could not go more than 10 minutes without checking in with their tech device—about the same amount of time it takes to walk to class. Largely based on the fact that technology helps students learn more efficiently, 85% of students reported that technology saves them time when studying—an average of two hours per day.

Given this shift in behavior towards technological dependence, it’s unsurprising that almost three-quarters (73%) of students surveyed claim they would not be able to study without using some form of technology. Additionally, it is clear that laptops and Smartphones are two types of devices that students are using to further their academic potential. Nearly half (48%) of all students who own a tech device frequently read eTextbooks and 63% have read an eTextbook on their device at least once. In fact, of the 91% of students who said they failed to complete required reading before classes, about half (46%) reported they would be more likely to complete their reading if it was in a digital format.

According to the survey, eReaders and eTextbooks are some of the emerging technologies helping students save time while still being effective. While 69% said an eTextbook is easier to carry than a traditional textbook, 61% cited that eTextbooks make it far easier to search within a text (thus saving time), 60% mentioned that eTextbooks save them money, and 55% said that they are easier to read “on the go.”

Additionally, new media options are increasingly engaging students, who said they use tools such as CourseSmart (39%), videos and podcasts (24%) and iTunes® (12%) to access study materials from a professor — a far cry from the library card catalogues and encyclopedias of previous generations.  Students are also spending their time using email (89%) and school Web sites (83%) for gathering course materials from their professors.

The library is not the only college campus fixture fading into the past; office hours are quickly becoming an antiquity as well. Students seem to prefer Facebook® to face time with the majority seeking extra help from their teachers via email (91%), cell phone (13%), or social networking sites (8%).

Furthermore, outside of everyday reading and studying, students also use digital devices for many of the tasks that previously required a pencil and paper to carry out—writing papers (82%), research (81%), taking class notes (70%) and making class presentations (65%).

If you are interested in additional survey results, please email requests to

About CourseSmart™

CourseSmart™ provides eTextbooks and digital course materials that improve the higher education learning process by offering instructors and students a unique combination of the right course material, anywhere, any-time access and a low cost. As the world’s largest digital course materials supplier, CourseSmart has a rapidly growing digital library of more than 90% of core higher education textbooks offered as eTextbooks, the same titles produced by major publishers in print and recommended by faculty across North America. The company’s eTextbooks can be purchased for up to 60% less than print texts and offer users the ability to print what they need as well as search and copy and paste features which help to streamline students’ studies. Additional information may be found on the company’s Web site at

Methodological Notes:

The CourseSmart Survey was conducted by Wakefield Research ( between February 23 and March 1, 2011. For this research, 501 interviews were fielded among Americans currently enrolled in college, using an email invitation and an online survey.

Results of any sample are subject to sampling variation. The magnitude of that variation is measurable and is affected by the number of interviews conducted. For the interviews conducted, the chances are 95 in 100 that a survey result does not vary, plus or minus, by more than 4.38 percentage points from the result that would be obtained if interviews had been conducted with all persons in the universe represented by the sample.”

3.  A Look At Students Using eTextbooks

4. 63% of High School Students Want Textbooks that Communicate with Classmates [Infographic]

“Today’s students are digital natives, and they are using their devices to connect with each other all the time during school. A new infographic looks at just how many of them are using social networks, and what they are doing on those social networks during school. The infographic also asks how schools can harness this social force for learning.
We’re not just talking about college students, either — children aged 2-11 make up nearly 9.5% of the online universe. 73% of wired teens are using social networking sites and 25% of time spent online by Americans is on social networks and blogs.
For instance, 63% of students grade 6-12 want online textbooks that allow them to communicate with classmates. We really are facing a new generation of students and there is going to be a big market for evolving education systems. ”


Posted on: March 19, 2012, 12:22 pm Category: Uncategorized

2 Responses

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  1. I wonder how seriously we should take these findings given that they were both generated by companies with a vested interest in moving to digital textbooks which cost far less for them to produce (but with no limit on how much they can charge). Non-industry studies are a bit less rosy than these are.

  2. As great librarians we need to see the bias on both sides of the issue. It’s too shallow to assert that electronic publishing is cheaper when both sides are making huge investments in new infratstruture, processes, distribution, metadata, discovery, and training or to underrrate the opportunities in outsourcing or moving some production in-house as long as we fully consider the impacts on staffing and return on time invested. Too many assert that writing their own textbooks and LMS’s is cheaper but I rarely see them considering the all-in costs and full timeline to critical mass. On the other hand there are opportunities to make things less expensive but I believe that will require collabooration on a global scale not seen since OCLC in 1972.
    I believe that the critical thinking and planning and organization that this evolution/revolution will take is being underestimated. For example just one stat – my organization deals with managing the rights for over an estimated 40,000 authors annually (exlcuding aggregated sources).