Print textbooks preferred over digital versions? Really?


Well. Surprise surprise. It seems today’s college students aren’t completely sold on everything digital. According to an article by Lisa Foderaro in today’s New York Times, many students still prefer print textbooks over the electronic version (In Digital Age).

According to the article, students cite a variety of reasons for preferring print textbooks — screens won’t go blank, no chance of a virus, and the plain old fact that academia is entrenched in print. So much for the hope that college students will quickly replace their print books with the new digital book readers.

 Betcha the chiropractors are smiling….they’ll still be needed to straighten out their backs bowed by those whopper bookbags.

Seriously, though, despite the belief that digital is taking over print, it appears that it may not be true when it comes to college textbooks. Despite the increasing costs, students are still reading print versions. One student said he didn’t want to switch to digital because he’d be too tempted to play around on social networking sites instead of studying. No doubt.

This makes me happy for a number of reasons. I don’t have to feel guilty about not really wanting to buy myself a digital book reader…not that I’m planning to return to school. I also don’t have to get rid of those textbooks that line the shelves in my office — a reminder of the hours I spent studying during graduate school. Besides, when I teach, I’d much rather tell my students to “get out your book” than “turn on your book”. There’s something just wrong about saying that.

Despite what Foderaro reports and what I hope is true, I have a sneaking suspicion that somewhere out there in northeastern Ohio is a certain PhD student reading this even as she is planning her Christmas list, at the top of which I suspect will be a digital book reader. Sigh. She’s laughing as she’s reading this. But remember, kiddo, print isn’t out yet. You better hang on to your book bag.

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2 responses to “Print textbooks preferred over digital versions? Really?

  1. I like things printed on paper too but one thing I think my older eyes could get used to is being able to enlarge print on the computer. For some reason typesets just keep getting smaller and smaller.

  2. Ink on paper just has a permanence to it that is severely lacking in any digital format that goes blank when it loses power.

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