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Friday, February 15, 2013

Students Aren't Flocking to E-Textbooks

Students are getting digital course materials from somewhere, it’s just not clear where. The Book Industry Study Group (BISG) found in its third installment of the Student Attitudes Toward Content in Higher Education Report that the number of students using course materials is declining, rentals may be peaking, and students still prefer print over digital as long as their parents are paying.

“Migration to digital is a mystery,” said Len Vlahos, executive director of BISG, during a Making Information Pay conference. “College students are beginning to migrate, but we don’t know where to.”

Vlahos will report on the study on Saturday, Feb. 23, as part the education sessions at CAMEX 2013 in Kansas City, MO.

The BISG report found the percentage of students participating in the survey for the fall 2012 academic semester using digital content as their main source of course materials remained the same from 2011. It also noted that fewer than 60% of the responding students used physical textbooks for their coursework in 2012, down from just under 70% in 2011.

About 14% of the students are using integrated learning systems (ILS) and say the online platforms that include course materials, study groups, and interactive and social media features are helping them improve their grades more than textbooks or e-texts. In addition, a third of the students are now using tablet computers, double the percentage from a year ago, but only 5% are using the tablets as their primary tool for studying.

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