As more textbook publishing companies produce a greater number of digital textbooks – or e-books – college students are expected to purchase these electronic versions in increasing numbers as time goes on. But there is still a contingency of college students who prefer using regular print versions of textbooks.
According to this story by Lottie Nilsen in the Denver Post, many college students are still choosing to use traditional textbooks over their digital counterparts for a variety of reasons. The article has quotes from a few different students at the University of Denver. The students cite several reasons for this. First off, many college students use their computers and tablets every day for checking e-mail and going on Facebook. The last thing they want to do is spend an hour or more each day reading a digital textbook on an LCD screen. In addition, some students prefer having a hard copy of a book that they can hold in their hands and make notes in whenever they wish.
Many digital textbooks are only available for a limited amount of time. For instance on eCampus.com, students must subscribe to certain textbooks and will only have access to them for a set amount of time, such as four or five months to cover the length of one semester. Because of this, students are unable to keep this books for future reference. They could be used to study for comprehensive exams like the MCAT for students in medical school.
According to the article, the Auraria Campus Bookstore, which serves three different college and university campus in Denver, Colorado, repotted that less than 1 percent of its sales come from e-books. This is a large bookstore with a huge selection of all kinds of textbooks in various conditions, yet this staggeringly low number is an indication that college students are not adopting digital books as quickly as some may have thought.
The main reason that students purchase digital textbooks is because of how cost-effective they are. These versions of books often sell for less than half the price of buying the print version of a textbook. That is why it is a no-brainer to go with e-books for students who are always looking to save money. However, as long as students prefer using hard copies of textbooks, they may be willing to pay the extra money for, at the very least, a used copy of a book that is also available in digital form.