College Students Still Prefer Prints Over Ebooks In 2019
In this, the fast-paced digital age, college students are both the natives and the pioneers of the tech era.
With so many recent technological leaps and bounds, it comes as no great shock that print books have seemingly been displaced by their digital counterparts, specifically ebooks.
It would be natural then, to assume that college students tend to prefer ebooks over print publications. However, this is not actually the case.
Studies Show a Preference for Print Books
In modern academia, recent evidence gathered by statistical analysis suggests that print books may, in fact, still be the most popular reading material option available among the majority of college students.
A recent study in 2018 recorded the opinions of over 300 college participants attending a variety of different 4-year universities and colleges.
The resulting data demonstrated that print books were still the most highly preferred reading material option available.
Around 74% of students stated that they preferred print media over ebooks, a contradiction to past projections that assumed print would be rendered obsolete by this time.
While some may be surprised by these recent findings, there are actually a few logical reasons that printers for college students are still popular.
Circumstances Have an Impact on Student Preferences
After the main part of the study was conducted, researchers took a look at the reasons why students were preferential to print books.
The evidence pointed to the circumstances around the format being used.
When books were mainly being read as leisure material, the numbers showed that print was the preferred choice. When books were needed for study or research, it was clear that digital ebooks were preferred.
There are likely a few main reasons for this. Primarily, the shift in preference has to do with circumstances surrounding the format being used.
Studies Show That Printed Books are Preferred for Leisure reading
In the written portion of the study conducted, many students explained that printed books were preferred for pleasure reading. They reported that for the most part, printed books were simply the more logical option. On the other hand, many students stated that for research and for their college classes, printed books were more difficult to use.
• Printed Books Are More Portable
Students reported that since books in print didn’t require an internet connection, electrical outlet, or smart device, they were easier to use when traveling or during free periods. Printed books are versatile and durable as well. Students felt that for pleasure reading, printed books simply made more sense.
• Print Books are Harder to Cite
Books in print sometimes contain dated research. It’s essentially impossible to accurately update information automatically in a printed work. Additionally, print books can be difficult to search and may not qualify as cited sources. They are not ideal for referencing when students are writing papers.
Reports Show That Ebooks are Preferred for Research
It was obvious that when it came to research and academic use, students preferred ebooks. In the written portion of the study, students explained the main reasons for this.
• Ebooks are More Suitable for Research
Alternatively, ebooks are the preferred choice for college class paper research and referencing.
They are easier to search, in many cases offer copy and paste features, can be used to quickly cite references and sources, and are better for research in general.
Many students have gone on to explain that while they prefer print media, ebooks are the more suitable and logical option for academic applications.
• Ebooks Offer Poor Retention
On the downside, research suggests that while ebooks are faster to scan, easier to cite, and more convenient, they may offer less in the way of information retention. While the cause is currently unknown, studies clearly show that print is easier to memorize and accurately retain.
• Students Complain About DRM
Digital Rights Management, or, DRM can be another frustration that students using ebooks may face. Navigating the copyright laws and printing restrictions that come with ebooks can be a complex and confusing process. up t 34% of students reported at least some difficulty with DRM restrictions.
While it is abundantly clear that when it comes to reading for pleasure, most students prefer printed books, evidence suggests that for digital referencing and academic research, ebooks are better.
The circumstances surrounding the use of books has the largest impact on which type of books are preferred by college students. Even though ebooks are convenient and easy to use for academic purposes, they don’t seem to offer students the pleasure that printed books do for leisure reading.