E-Books, E-Readers Slow to Catch on With College Students

Oct 27, 2010, 10:11 ET from OnCampus Research

Study finds preference for print continues; Laptop love prevails

OBERLIN, Ohio, Oct. 27 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- Despite screaming headlines proclaiming the death of the printed book due to burgeoning digital content and electronic reading devices, the printed page remains the Big Man On Campus among college students, according to findings of a new study by OnCampus Research, a division of the National Association of College Stores (NACS) that helps companies better understand the college market.

"With all the attention given to e-books and e-readers, particularly as to their use in higher education, we wanted to cut through all the speculation and put hard numbers to it," says OnCampus Research Manager Elizabeth Riddle. "It seems that the death of the printed book, at least on campus, has been greatly exaggerated, and that dedicated e-readers have a way to go before they catch on with this demographic. The college-aged market is definitely a growth opportunity for companies providing digital educational products."

The OnCampus Research Electronic Book and E-Reader Device survey, conducted in early October, found that only 13% of college students had purchased an electronic book of any kind during the previous three months. Of that percentage, slightly over half (56%) stated that the primary purpose of their e-book purchase was required course materials for class.

The new survey also confirmed a finding of NACS' 2010 OnCampus Student Watch survey, conducted last fall, in which 74% of college students preferred print over digital.  

Overwhelmingly, students are reading e-books on a computer rather than a dedicated e-reading device. In fact, 92% of students indicate they currently do not own an e-reader, and of those, 59% said they don't plan to purchase one in the next three months.

Approximately 77% of the students who said they recently purchased an e-book indicated that they used a laptop computer or Netbook to read it. Desktop computer was the second most popular choice (30%), followed at 19% by a smartphone, such as an iPhone, Blackberry, or Android. Another 19% reported using an e-reader like a Kindle or Nook. A tablet computer, such as an iPad, was the least common reading device used by students, selected by only 4% of respondents.

Media Note: These are just some of the findings contained in the NACS OnCampus Research Electronic Book and E-Reader Device report. For more information, please contact Charles Schmidt, at (800)-622-7498 ext. 2351.

About OnCampus Research

OnCampus Research is a consultative research group with one mission: to help companies better understand the college market. With more than 75 years of experience in the college industry, we offer full-service quantitative and qualitative research literally "On Campus," through our online panel of more than 14,000 students at 1,100 campuses nationwide. Specializing in online surveys, focus groups, omnibus surveys, syndicated studies, and in-depth interviews, OnCampus works with clients to create a strategy that best fits their needs and positions them as the brand of choice among college students.

SOURCE OnCampus Research