Thanks to Mariana McCulley for the heads up on a new press release from Ingram Digital. According to the release, Ingram Digital saw a 400% increase in e-Textbook sales this semester over 2007 sales. Of particular interest in the press release is some of the data they share from a recent study. In Q2, Ingram Digital surveyed more than 600 of its e-book users to uncover the key drivers behind their decision to switch to digital. Results revealed that cost, convenience, and interactivity were the top three factors contributing to students' decision to purchase e-Textbooks.
News and studies like this provide some important insights into the future direction of digital course materials from the consumer/student perspective. It will be interesting to see what the fall sales numbers look like compared to this spring. By this fall, the amount of digital inventory for textbooks is expected to increase signficantly -- and will continue to do so through 2009. I would expect the main textbook publishers (which represent over 80-85% of the industry) will all have their frontlists available in digital format for sale and distribution by sometime in 2009 if not sooner. Inventory has been a barrier to adoption in the past. Other forthcoming developments in the industry will address some of the cost and convenience factors as well.