Caught My Eye: "In an e-reader era, students prefer paper"

by | Sep 25, 2011 | 0 comments

In an e-reader era, students prefer paper 

Naturally, this article would catch our eye.  It’s so Against the Grain!  Students preferring paper? This isn’t how it’s supposed to be.  However, according to Nicole Allen of the Student Public Interest Research Groups, even though the prices of print textbooks  have surged by 22% in the last four years, “What we’re … finding is that the e-books that the major publishers have been offering … don’t save students that much money.”  But that’s not all.  E-textbooks carry some particular disadvantages.  Many are set to “expire at the end of the semester, preventing students from reselling them” and “there are often digital rights management restrictions on e-book access and printing that restrict sharing.”  For example “CafeScribe, sells a 180-day subscription” to a textbook entitled Principles of Economics for $113.48 that in hardcover sells for $181.50.  However, the subscription “limits printing and copying/pasting to 30 percent of total pages and allows subscribers access on only three devices. Plus, after 180 days, customers are left with nothing to resell or refer back to.”  Of course E-textbooks still have the advantage of being somewhat cheaper and are definitely easier to carry around.  There is far less back strain toting an iPad than a backpack full of books.    However, Alexander Thayer, principal author of a paper on student reading preferences may have said it best when he noted that “there is no single reading technology that does it all.” “What we know about academic reading is that it’s more complex than an e-reader can support as currently designed.” Putting it more succinctly he said “this rush to replace paper in schools, I think, is a bit premature.”

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