College Stores Increasingly Offering E-Textbook Option

Aug 10, 2010, 12:31 ET from National Association of College Stores

NACS lists several factors before general student acceptance

OBERLIN, Ohio, Aug. 10 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- Last week the National Association of College Stores (NACS) issued the second in a series of releases on the choices college stores are offering students to make course materials more affordable – rentals. This week, NACS identifies a third option.

Option #3 E-Books

According to the 2010 Student Watch report conducted by NACS' OnCampus Research division, 74% of college students still prefer a printed textbook over an e-book. In addition, digital textbooks make up an average of only 2.8% of total textbook sales and about 15% of the courses last year offered a digital textbook.

"The findings are not surprising," says OnCampus Research Manager Laura Cozart. "Every new innovation takes time before the mainstream population embraces it."

However, she notes that this is changing rapidly. NACS predicts that by 2012 digital textbooks will make up from 10% to 15% of the textbook market.

A combination of several factors will drive this growth, according to Charles Schmidt, Director of Public Relations for NACS. "First, students will have to become more aware of the availability of e-textbooks. Second, faculty will have to become more comfortable using e-textbooks and learn how to use digital content more effectively."

Perhaps the largest determining factor, however, will be when the content of e-textbooks is designed to give students a more interactive learning experience. "Currently, the vast majority of digital textbooks are slightly glorified PDFs of the print version, and that kind of turns students off," Schmidt says. "Today's college student wants to get something more out of the experience than the print version can offer, and currently, not many e-textbooks offer that."

Schmidt also notes that in most cases purchasing an e-textbook is more like a rental. "The student buys access to the digital content for a set period of time, they don't own it," he says. "In addition, there are limits on how much of the content can be printed out and sharing of files is either limited or not permitted."

College stores are committed to providing educational content in the manner that not only best fits each student's learning style, but also their budget, Schmidt says. "By offering e-textbooks as an option along with new, used, and rented print versions, our members are demonstrating their resolve to provide their students with affordable course material choices."

Next week…Where the textbook dollar really goes.

About NACS

Headquartered in Oberlin, Ohio, the National Association of College Stores (NACS) is the professional trade association of the college store industry. NACS represents more than 3,000 collegiate retailers and approximately 1,100 associate members who supply books and other products to college stores. NACS member stores serve America's college students while supporting the academic missions of higher education institutions everywhere. Additional information on NACS can be found online at

SOURCE National Association of College Stores