Understanding Slow Growth in the Adoption of E-Textbooks: Distinguishing Paper and Electronic Delivery of Course Content

Andrew Paul Feldstein, Mirta Maruri Martin


E-textbooks have experienced a lower than anticipated rate of adoption among college students. Studies consistently show a student preference for paper versus e-textbooks. When seeking an explanation for the continued reluctance of students to adopt e-textbooks, it is necessary to consider e-textbooks as a technological innovation. This is an exploratory study of the first year of a pilot program during which 991 students in 9 core courses in the Virginia State University (VSU) Reginald F. Lewis College of Business (RFLCB) replaced traditional textbooks with openly licensed e-textbooks. A questionnaire was administered to students who had participated in the e-textbook pilot study in the second semester of the implementation. The adoption process was examined using Venkatesh’s Unified Theory of Acceptance and Use of Technology (UTAUT) as a framework. The questions in the survey were categorized to represent performance expectancy and effort expectancy; two of the four primary constructs in the UTAUT. In accordance with the UTAUT framework, the moderating variables, age, experience, gender and voluntariness, were cross-tabulated with these constructs to see how the moderating factors might influence adoption of digital textbooks. Results show that student gender and voluntariness, as expressed as reported time spent with e-textbook, need to be taken into account when implementing technological innovations such as an e-textbook initiative.

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DOI: https://doi.org/10.5296/ire.v1i1.4071


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