What do modern students want in a textbook? Writers want to know.

I was intrigued by an article in Research Information, a newsletter for libraries and publishers. “The rise and rise of e-reading” discussed the growth in electronic textbooks and articles. As a writer I have been intrigued by the potential for embedding interactive components and live links in texts, but disappointed to find that such materials are more typically relegated to a companion website. In my previous faculty role, I noticed a gap between the university’s enthusiasm for adopting e-books, and my students’ preference for paper textbooks. As a reader, I prefer e-books when I read for enjoyment, but usually like paper when I am working with textbooks. I thought I’d dig a bit more, and share what I discover with you, my fellow writers.

What did publishers say in “The rise and rise of e-reading”?

Is digital really better than print? Authors share their perspective

While the debate over print versus digital textbooks (etextbooks) is not new, the content of that debate has shifted in recent years to which is a more effective learning tool for students. As publishers, instructors and students push towards offering more digital textbooks and learning products, will the benefits outweigh the negatives? Several studies have found that it not only takes readers longer to read text on a screen, they tend to skim much more and thus absorb and retain less information than reading from a physical book. Other etextbook readers have reported the tendency to multi-task while reading. One study reported that 90% of students said they were more likely to multi-task when reading onscreen versus 1% who said they multi-task when reading a print book.