Last Thursday I presented to a school librarians association conference on “Becoming a 21st Century Librarian”. In the ‘environment’ section of the presentation I covered eTextbooks as a coming reality in the classroom and school library, and used an infographic from Accredited Online Universities Guide.

What Apple is doing to advance the eTextbook through iBooks 2 for iPad, and iBook Author is both remarkable and aggressive. It literally may change the face of education.

Combine that with results of what higher-ed students are already saying about eTextbooks, based on the results of a survey by – A LOOK AT STUDENTS USING eTEXTBOOKS – and the reality is clear – eTextbooks are the new reality.

At, the infographic shows some very convincing trends toward the use of eTextbooks. About half (48%) of all students choose eTextbooks because of the lower price, another 25% choose them to have instant access, 19% choose eTextbooks for the portability, but only 6% prefer reading digital format.

The attraction for eTextbooks seems to be the search capability that 52% like most. Twenty percent like highlighting, and 14% like the copy-paste capability (one might expect this to be the most valued feature), and 12% like the interactive study guides and quizzes. As far as saving time, another big student issue, 51% claim they save from 1 to 3 hours per semester, while 17% say they save more than 3 hours, and 29% don’t see any time savings with eTextbooks.

In response to the question – “Would you buy an eTextbook next semester?” – only 7% said No, but 38% said Yes for all their books, while 54% were undecided – Maybe.

What does this whole trend say about the future of technology, eBooks and library services?


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3 responses to “eTextbooks!

  1. The future of technology is bright and library staff, administrators and governments have to get with the times and continue to keep current with the technological trends.

  2. shine_on

    The fact that only 6% of students prefer to read in digital format should not just be swept under the carpet. Statistics claim that reading from a screen is slower. Certain types of textbooks such as those which ‘chunk’ sections of information in point form, graphs and images etc may be more effective in digital form than those which contain large slabs of prose.

    • Isn’t that they way it always works with new “learning” technology? It brings with it issues that must be addressed in new ways and new techniques adopted. IMHO, this issue will determine whether eTextbooks replace printed textbooks, or they die a lonely tech death with everybody wondering “What happened? We thought it was a no brainer.”

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