Document Type


Publication Date

Winter 2015

Publication Title

Library Hi Tech





First Page



Electronic textbooks, eTextbooks, technology acceptance model, Electronic resources, Universities, Students, Technology adoption

Last Page



Purpose: The current study seeks contribute to our understanding of how students accept and use e-textbooks in higher education by assessing their experiences with e-textbooks from Flat World Knowledge and Nelson Education during a two year campus pilot.

Design/methodology/approach: Students enrolled in one of 11 classes involved in the library’s e-textbook pilot were recruited to complete an online survey including questions related to the perceived usefulness and perceived ease of use of electronic textbooks, as well as their general habits with the textbook. This study uses the Technology Acceptance Model (TAM) as a framework for analysis.

Findings: Students experienced a drop in enthusiasm for e-textbooks from the beginning to the end of the pilot. While research suggests that students prefer for print over electronic in some contexts, students rarely acted on that preference by seeking out available alternative print options. Student experience with the open/affordable textbook (FWK) was very comparable to that of the high cost commercial text (Nelson).

Originality/value: While previous research suggests that students have a general preference for textbooks in print rather than electronic, our study suggests that preference may not dictate the likelihood that students will use print options. Students appear to be willing and able to easily make use of the content and functions in their e-textbooks. Despite overall positive reviews for the e-textbooks, students experienced a drop in enthusiasm for e-textbooks from the beginning to the end of the pilot.




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