A new study from the Book Industry Study Group (BISG) found that downloading course materials from unauthorized web sites is on the rise. Student Attitudes Toward Content in Higher Education showed the percentage of students pirating course materials jumped from 20% in 2010 to 34% in the most recent survey.
The practice of students copying chapters of a required text owned by a peer is also on the upswing, rising from 21% to 31%. In addition, the survey found that 75% of faculty feel the overall coast of a college degree is too high (despite just 33% of the respondents saying the costs were too high at their own institution), and that they said both print and digital course materials were priced higher than their value to the class.
The information came as no surprise to blogger Nate Hoffelder of The Digital Reader.
“Students are pirating more textbooks because they can’t afford to buy them,” he wrote. “Do you think they would go through the hassle of photocopying a textbook if they had another choice?”
Hoffelder went on to claim that the rate of students pirating textbooks has been growing at least since the end of 2011. He provided statistics from March 2013 that showed the use of unauthorized text web sites had increased 40%, scanning course material was up 37%, illicit sharing between students was up 28%, and piracy was up 26%.