College students text, surf and download but in the digital age traditional paper textbooks still rule. A recent New York Times article looked into why students still prefer expensive, heavy textbooks.
The article quotes two recent studies--one by the National Association of College Stores and another by the Student Public Interest Research Groups, a national advocacy network. The studies found 75 percent of students surveyed still preferred traditional textbooks to a digital version. The surveys found many students are reluctant to give up the ability to quickly flip through paper books, write notes in the margins and use a highlighter to mark important passages.
The expense of college textbooks, according to the New York Times, is estimated to have risen four times the inflation rate in recent years.
According to the National Association of College Stores, digital books make up just under 3 percent of textbook sales. The association expects the number to grow as high as 15 percent by 2012.
Barnes and Noble College Booksellers is working hard to market its new software application, NOOKstudy. It allows students to navigate e-textbooks on Macs and PCs. The company's vice president said "The real hurdle is getting them (students) to try it."
The company is giving away "College Kick-Start Kits" to students who download NOOKstudy in the fall semester, with ramen noodle recipes and a dozen classic e-books like "The Canterbury Tales" and "The Scarlet Letter." CourseSmart, a consortium of major textbook publishers, is letting students try any e-textbook free for two weeks.