While digital textbook sales only account for a minuscule portion of the US college market, many students have been optimistic about the implementation of this cost-effective format on a wide scale. A recent report by the social learning platform Xplana reaffirms this optimism, indicating that e-textbooks on the verge of revolution. The company’s analysis led researchers to the conclusion that digital textbooks will surpass the 25 percent of overall sales by 2015. Is it possible to see such the dramatic transformation of a well-established industry in such a short amount of time?
Xplana’s projection predicts that yearly sales of digital textbooks will grow by 80-100 percent until 2015, tapering off and decelerating until 2020. According to the firm, sales will be influenced by numerous factors, including the cost of materials, the availability of digital content, the growth of the online learning market, the growth of e-books in publish, and the advancement of e-reader hardware.
One of the major components contributing to the report is the rising popularity of the tablet market, more specifically the iPad. While the report was written last year, when the iPad’s influence on the development of technology was unknown, it is evident that Apple’s revolutionary product has inspired several companies desiring to target hardware at students.
Pointing to some significant developments in the open textbook market, states and institutions have embarked on a number of open educational resource initiatives that will address the affordability of textbooks. However, all of the fuss might be in vein as a study by the Book Industry Study Group found that 75 percent of college students prefer printed texts. It is also somewhat surprising that 25 percent of students prefer the digital format , while only one percent of books are available this way.
What do you, students and e-book enthusiasts, believe? Would you like to see the large-scale rollout of e-textbooks? Is it possible to see such a dramatic shift in just four years? Sound off in the comments below.