Digital textbooks are one of those ideas which publishers and technologists love but students don’t like so much. They failed to catch on for a couple obvious reasons (money, and the fact that college students lack the same) and as a recent survey showed us this is still true in 2016.
Campusbooks.com has released the results of a survey it conducted in the spring 2016 semester. It polled 1,067 college students in the US, and found that students would rather buy used or rent than buy an e-textbook.
The survey also showed that students were savvy consumers who tended to spend less on textbooks the longer they were in college. Survey respondents averaged $488 on textbooks, with freshman spending $572 and seniors spending an average of $421.
Other results include:
- The largest proportion of students, 67 percent, buys used textbooks, 55 percent rent, 25 percent buy new and 25 percent download e-books.
- Nearly 66 percent of students have opted out of buying a textbook due to the cost.
- The proportion of students who buy new textbooks decreases as their tenure in school increases, and the proportion of students who rent textbooks increases significantly.
- Students use creativity to overcome the lack of a textbook, primarily searching content online (63 percent) or sharing textbooks with friends (58 percent).
The problem for textbook publishers is that textbooks aren’t the special snowflakes they used to be. Much of the info in textbooks can be found online both as webpages, from other people, or via other sources like Youtube.
Thanks to the internet and the prevalence of cheap gadgets, students are spending a lot of time online. The survey found that the typical student spends 41% of their 168-hour (7 day) week on all electronic devices, combined. Most of that time was spent on smartphones, which 94% of students own (only 89% own a laptop).
But even though students are on their smartphone a lot, they’re not making calls. 36% of students said texting is their main use for their smartphone, while apps account for the second highest use (1%). And only 5% reported using their smartphone primarily for phone calls.
They’re also not using that smartphone for school. The survey found that students were 2.3 times likely to use their mobile devices for personal time than for academic purposes.
And when it comes to tablets and ereaders, ereader use declined 22% while tablet ownership climbed 15%.
image by mer chau