Infographic: E-book vs. Dead-Tree-book Rumble and Why Students Lag
By Wired Academic on June 2, 2012
Infographics, Publishers & Curriculum, Required, Technology, Universities & Colleges
E-books have won over more and more Americans every year — but not many of those are students studying textbooks. According to this infographic, the number of Americans who own e-books is over 20 percent and climbing. The good news is that by their calculations, owners of e-books read 24 books over the last 12 months compared to 15 for people who still flip actual paper.
But students lag.
The infographic is filled with interesting tidbits, but one thing we found lacking is any mention of students and educational content in e-book usage. Before we get to the infographic, we thought it’d be useful to hear from an publishing insider about why higher ed students lag in e-book adoption.
Tom Malek, Vice President of Learning Solutions for McGraw-Hill Higher Education wrote recently in Forbes:
E-book adoption among college students has remained consistently, almost puzzlingly low. Studies currently show that about 3 percent of college students are purchasing e-books. If today’s students are truly digital natives, and if e-books offer so much value to students, why haven’t we seen more uptake?
Malek says there are many reasons why students have not joined in the e-book love fest: Students don’t know what additional value digital editions offer and also because students are so used to the printed book. But students are usually early adopters of new technology and we suspect the real reason is cha-ching, as Mr. Malek concedes big publishers have not passed on costs savings from traditional publishing to digital formats:
This is where price becomes important. Companies, including my own, simply have not been able to deliver e-books at a price that’s low enough to entice college students to make the switch from print to digital. There are a number of factors affecting the price of e-books, but the long and the short of why they’re not priced lower is that the costs that are saved by shifting from print to digital – things like paper, printing and warehousing – represent only a fraction of what it costs to produce a book. The highest costs – research, paying our authors – don’t change no matter what form the final book takes. To date, e-books have offered students some cost savings; those savings just haven’t been enough to get them to put down their more familiar print textbook and switch over to digital. When you consider all the ways that e-books can help students learn more effectively, this becomes a much larger problem.
The infographic below shows all the reason why e-books are increasingly popular among the general public. Perhaps with better prices, more students will get the opportunity to reap the benefits at long last.
Full article by Malek: “Should College Students Be Forced To Buy E-Books?” at Forbes.
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