More than 60% of College Students Prefer Printed Textbooks for Academic Learning (

Today’s college students have grown up in a digital world, so one might expect that most of them would prefer e-textbooks to print on paper, but that’s not the case according to a new survey conducted by Direct Textbook, a free textbook price comparison service. The survey reports that 62% college students prefer print textbooks to e-textbooks.

This represents a 10% decline in print textbook preference since 2015, when 72% of students reported favoring print textbooks, but it doesn’t mean students are embracing e-textbooks. Despite the growing e-textbook market, student preference for e-textbooks increased by just 2% from 2015 (27%) to 2021 (29%), while the number of students who have no preference increased by nearly 8% over that same period.

Students who prefer print textbooks say they are easier to read and that they have trouble concentrating on e-textbooks. They also like that no internet is required. And 25% say they end up printing e-textbook pages anyway. Even those who have no preference say printed textbooks are easier to read and annotate, and are easier to learn from. Among students who prefer e-textbooks, 70% say the reason for their preference is that e-textbooks are environmentally friendly, a common misconception.
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