Despite their fondness for social networking and cell phones, most college students say they prefer textbooks in printed rather than e-text form. Nearly 75% of students to recently respond to a major new research survey from the Book Industry Study Group (BISG) said they prefer printed texts, citing a fondness for print's look and feel, as well as its permanence and ability to be resold.
This finding was among many uncovered in BISG's inaugural survey entitled Student Attitudes Toward Content in Higher Education (Fee-Based).
Although not the preferred textbook form for most college students, further data from the survey shows that e-texts do have fans. About 12% of the students surveyed -- mostly males, and often MBA-seeking or distance learners -- said they prefer e-texts to printed texts because of their lower cost, convenience and portability. In addition, online supplemental materials received favor from these respondents as well. Particularly online quizzes that tests students' understanding of a text's content and prepares them for exams.
The majority of survey respondents (60%) said they place high value on core textbooks -- whether printed or electronic -- most of which continue to be purchased at the college bookstore (65%). Online purchasing is growing, however. For example, one-fifth of students said they purchased textbooks from Amazon.com. Finally, perhaps because of rising purchase prices, renting a textbook -- rather than purchasing or downloading -- was preferred by 11% of surveyed students.
Additional findings include:
+ Students love a bargain. Survey respondents said they often buy previous editions of a textbook (16% did this for their current class ) or international versions (18% did this at least once).
+ Piracy is pervasive. More than 40% of survey respondents said they bought a textbook from a pirate website, or know others who have. In addition, many respondents reported copying their friends' textbooks.
+ Some learning tools have high value. Print study guides, Campus Learning Management Systems -- such as Blackboard and WebCT -- and diagnostic self-tests held high value for survey respondents.
+ And some learning tools have low value. Online tutoring, audio study guides and "clickers" used in the classroom by instructors held low value for survey respondents.