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Picture this: School was exhausting today. You had two midterms, have three projects looming in the near future, and you feel the pressure of trying to keep up with your professors’ increasing demands as the semester draws to a close. Yes, there is a lot to do, but for now you need a distraction. You drop your belongings at the door, kick off your shoes, and get ready to curl up with your favorite… Kindle?
One hundred UMD students were polled and about ten percent said that they own an e-book. Of those students, only three said that they would prefer to use that device for reading their textbooks over traditional printed books.
The age of technology is upon us, and with that even the most familiar is changing – the book. The paperback is becoming less popular and instead many are turning to an electronic option instead, the e-book.
One out of ten people in the U.S. now have an e-book according to a survey done by CNNews, and an even larger percentage is expected to acquire one within the next six months.
With the increasing popularity of the e-book, many college campuses are seeing students turn to the digital versions of textbooks.
UMD senior David Cowardin with his Kindle.
UMD Medical School students Anna Lindsey and Jonathan Harvey using their iPads.
UMD senior David Cowardin is one student who chose to buy his textbooks electronically this year. He was able to download his texts onto his Kindle for a much lower price than if he bought a traditional textbook, he said.
“I’m happy with my purchase,” said Cowardin. “Even though it's difficult to jump to specific pages during class discussions, it allows me to carry multiple texts without my backpack bursting at the seams.”
UMD’s School of Medicine has also taken advantage of the new technology. Last year, first year students received iPads, and now those students are starting an iPad-ready curriculum developed by the school’s faculty.
“iPads help make our students’ educational materials and programs more portable and that, in turn, will help us enhance our ability to move them out of the classroom and into rural clinics for longer periods of time,” said Professor Jim Boulger, who coordinates all of the preceptorships for UMD. “In addition, we’re making sure that all of our students are being exposed to cutting edge teaching technologies from all areas of medicine.”
Despite the rise in popularity, many college students are still reluctant to make the change and go completely electronic.
The majority of students still prefer print textbooks over electronic ones. In a survey conducted by the National Association of College Stores (NACS), over 75 percent of students said they would pick a print textbook over the digital alternative. In overall textbook sales, e-textbooks make up only three percent of purchases.
UMD finds itself matching those national numbers. One hundred UMD students were polled and about ten percent said that they own an e-book. Of those students, only three said that they would prefer to use that device for reading their textbooks over traditional printed books.
Despite the resistance of electronic textbooks, the popularity is still increasing as more and more titles are being offered electronically. By 2012, the NACS, says they expect more than 15 percent of students to own an electronic textbook.
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