SANTA CLARA, Calif., July 27, 2011 - College students find print textbooks so cumbersome that 73 percent are willing do something they might not normally do, including give up dating or sex, in order to never have to carry another one, according to a new survey by Kelton Research. Kno, Inc., a leading education software company, commissioned the survey of American college students across the country and found that most college students (71 percent) want to go digital, whether through an application on a tablet such as an iPad®, through the Web on a laptop, netbook or desktop, or via a smartphone.
The findings of the study show a shift in perception from college students and lend new light to the future of digital learning. While cost plays a large part of students’ desire to switch to digital textbooks, it’s also the ability to better their study habits. Currently, students carry around such items as textbooks, notebooks, pens and organizational systems like a planner in their backpacks. Because the textbooks alone weigh so much, about a quarter (24 percent) of students carrying 20 pounds or more on a typical day, there’s a lot of running back and forth to the dorms to get a book for the next class and a lot of back pain.
When they get to class, there’s no guarantee that they’ll be able to follow along with the professor. According to the survey, 46 percent of college students have been prevented from studying because they forgot the specific book they needed. Furthermore, 20 percent have lost their books and 16 percent have been hindered due to missing pages in the book. An application like Kno’s Textbooks for iPad keeps textbooks, notes and class materials in one location, which is important to students. If they could access their textbooks from anywhere without having to lug them around, a majority of students said they would study more often (62 percent) and more efficiently (54 percent).
With tuition rates continuing to rise across the county, nine in ten (87 percent) college students have had to cut back on expenses in order to pay for their textbooks. And it’s no wonder, as college students expect to spend close to $2,400 on textbooks during their time as undergrads. Making matters worse is the fact that many don’t see a majority of this money again. College students expect to only receive an average of 30 percent of the money they spent on textbooks when they sell them back. In fact, about two-thirds (65 percent) think the depreciating costs of textbooks is more unfair than interest rates on student loans.
“I spend so much money on textbooks every semester and when I go to sell them back, typically receive less than half of what I paid,” said Mary Beth Burch, a graduate student at UC Denver. “That’s why having an application like Kno is extremely helpful. I can purchase or rent my books for 30-50 percent off list price, which helps me save a lot of money. It’s also convenient to have my textbooks available on my iPad, which I take with me everywhere.”
Another interesting piece of the survey revealed that most college students (78 percent) don’t think that their professors are currently doing enough to enhance their learning experience with technology, such as with online tutorials or digital textbooks. Yet despite that, they see the shift happening, as 44 percent believe that in five years, college professors will no longer require students to use physical textbooks.
- 75 percent of students have had to forgo entertainment such as movies or concerts in order to pay for textbooks
- 57 percent have surrendered travel such as their spring break so they can purchase textbooks
- 48 percent are afraid that they will run out of memory to store all of the books they need
- 45 percent have had to cut back on food in order to pay for their books
- 35 percent are afraid that they will not be able to find the exact book or edition required
- 34 percent of college students would rather take 8am classes every day for their entire college career if it meant never having to carry another textbook
- 34 percent would stay home every Saturday night for a semester for the same reason
- 28 percent would have their parents visit them at school every other weekend for an entire school year if it meant no more physical textbooks
- One thing college students have not cut back on alcohol – with only 19 percent cutting back a beer budget in order to buy textbooks