Physical textbooks still king in digital age, claims writer

29th January 2013 - Fine Cut

Despite all the talk surrounding digital literature, printed textbooks are still the preference of college students around America.

This is according to chronicle.com writer Jennifer Howard, who sought the opinion of college professors and used examples of successful publishers to back up her point that print is very much alive.

Ms Howard claimed the success story of Norton's 'Anthology of English Literature' goes some way to proving her point. The text is yet to cave into the lure of tablets and e-readers and remains only available in print. 

Collectively the anthologies have sold over 15 million copies, which Michael Wright - director of college sales at Norton - says is because "the vast majority of students still prefer print."

Adding further weight to this point, Julie K. Bartley, an associate professor of geology at Gustavus Adolphus College, claims her students "don't really want to have e-books" - hinting that barcode labels and paper still have a future in education.

She explained: "What I hear from them a lot of times is that they feel some sort of comfort in being able to hold the thing in their hands."

Meanwhile Tanya C. Noel, an assistant professor of biology at the University of Windsor, in Ontario, claimed her students too were not "terribly interested" in electronic texts.  

She said this came as a surprise given that e-books would have them the opportunity to use their mobile devices in order to learn, but this wasn't the case. Furthermore, wsj.com highlights that popular e-readers like Amazon's textbook-optimised Kindle DX come in at around £300, so talk of a cut in costs is at the very least debatable. 

Speaking of other e-learning methods like online tutorial-and-assessment systems, Ms Noel went on to say that the quality of questions were not consistent enough for her liking.    

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