College kids hate textbooks. Can e-books really help?

Thu Jul 28, 2011 11:12am EDT

It’s no secret that most college students aren’t crazy about textbooks. But will moving required-reading materials to an e-book format really change all that? A new market research study indicates that it just might.

Seventy-three percent of college students who responded to a new Kelton Research study sponsored by education software startup Kno said they’d be willing to do something they might not normally do — including giving up dating or sex — if they could never carry another textbook.

That sounds a bit sensational, but it makes more sense when you think about the financial and physical burden that college textbooks represent: College students can expect to spend some $2,400 on textbooks during their undergraduate careers, and a quarter of students have to carry in excess of 20 pounds’ worth of books on a typical day, according to the study.

But would shifting to a digital format really make students fall in love with “books”? The research data implies that it certainly could help. Sixty-two percent of respondents said they would study more often if they could access their textbooks from anywhere without having to carry them around, and 54 percent said it would make their studies more efficient. A full 71 percent of college students said they were keen to “go digital” by putting required-reading materials on a mobile or desktop application or through the web.

Even so, many educational software companies have not taken off as quickly as many may have hoped. Kno itself was forced to pivot earlier this year after a number of launch-related hiccups. But now that college students are wanting to go digital more than ever, the tide may finally start to turn away from traditional textbooks for good.

Image courtesy of Flickr user pmccormi  

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