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eReaders and eBooks, Are Students Using Them?

eReaders and eBooks, Are Students Using Them?

April 22, 2011

Do you have an eReader? Do you use one for class? A recent study asked college students what they think of the technology and how much they’re using it.

This past March OnCampus research asked 655 college students about their usage of electronic books or eBooks as well as their usage of eReader devices. Three major conclusions of the study are as follows:

Most students are not buying eBooks.

When asked if they had purchased an electronic book in the past three months only 18.07% of students said yes while almost 82% of students said no. Six out of ten (57%) students who had purchased an eBook said the purchase was required course material.

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Most students would prefer a printed textbook in class over an electronic text or eBook.

75.19% of students said they preferred a printed textbook while only 24.81% said they preferred a digital book. Their reasoning? About 12% of students said they don’t prefer digital because they lose access to content after the end of the semester, 8% they don’t prefer digital because there is no buyback option, 3% said the professor uses the print copy and another 3% said there are not eBook for the classes they’re taking.

For students who opted for digital, 85% said it’s because it reduces weight they have to carry or put in their backpack, another 85% said they like the fact that all their required course material is in one place, 74% said they prefer digital for the convenience, 71% said to save paper, 68% said the price and 39% said they prefer the technology.

Most students don’t own an eReader.

Don’t have an eReader? You’re not the only one. During the study 87.29% of students said they don’t own an eReader while only 12.71% said they do. When this same question was asked of students in October of 2010, 92% of students reported not owning an eReader – meaning the number of students who don’t own one is declining. When asked if they’ll buy one, only 5% of students said they plan to purchase an eReader in the near future while 63% of students said they do not plan to purchase one and 32% of students said they were unsure.

For those who were interested in purchasing, Apple’s ipad and Amazons Kindle were tied at 27% while 19% were interested in the Barnes & Noble Nook.

Students who weren’t interested in purchasing said they preferred print books (42%), are not quite sure how an eReader would benefit them (42%) and think the devices are too expensive and are waiting for the price to drop (13%).

Among the almost 13% of students that did own an eReader, the most popular device was the Amazon Kindle, followed by the Barnes & Noble Nook. Other student owned devices included the Apple iPhone, the Apple iPad, Sony Reader and Kobo.

The OnCampus Research Student Panel consists of over 18,000 college students from across the U.S. who have agreed to participate in market research studies throughout the year. See the complete findings of this study here.


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