Tuesday, April 10, 2012

The Puzzling State of Digital Textbook Sales

In a recent OnCampus Research study, sales data from 45 college and university campus bookstores around the U.S. showed that there was a surprising decrease in digital course material sales by 6.7%. Community college bookstores saw a drastic decline in sales by 70.4%. While 45 colleges represent a mere fraction of the overall picture, these college campuses were chosen to reflect a microcosm of higher education. [snip].

So with the recent increase of tablets and mobile phone use by students, as well as a renewed emphasis on adopting new technology on campus, why are some college stores experiencing a decline in the sale of digital course material?

Based on the research, here are 3 reasons why we might be seeing this trend.

1. Adoption is hard. [snip]/ There has to be more innovation in the digital textbook space, coupled with heavy adoption by campus administrators, before we’ll see a widespread adoption of digital materials by students.
2. Custom publishing doesn’t always work, either. In the OnCampus Research study, university stores saw a 9.1% decrease in custom publishing sales. [snip]
3. Students are opting for rental. [snip]. According to a research study conducted by Q&A Research in 2011, 21% of students rented their textbooks, with 45% of the respondents either not having the option to rent or not knowing about rentals at all. For future reference, 67% of the total students questioned said they would have been likely to rent textbooks if given the option.

Even though this report provides only a preliminary glance into the economics of the textbook market, the data does paint a general picture of how the textbook and digital course materials markets are changing. [snip]. As we’ve said before, publishers will have to get creative with digital content, and ensure that universities are adopting new technologies on campus.

Source and Links Available At 



  1. Only draw back to the digital text book is the fact you can't actually by the damned DVD/CD and after 180 days, you have to pay again to get access.

    Does ANYONE know where you can actually BUY it?

  2. Is there ANYWHERE you can actually buy the eBooks / Digital books?

    I have only found the "Rental" avenues, but want to keep the book for future reference.


Note: Only a member of this blog may post a comment.