Blackwell's survey finds print textbooks in favour

Blackwell's survey finds print textbooks in favour

Eighty-two percent of lecturers see the physical textbook as an important resource for undergraduate students, while students show a strong preference for print textbooks over the digital versions, according to the latest student and lecturer survey conducted by Blackwell’s. 

Just over 500 students and 338 teaching staff across 35 UK universities completed the retailer’s annual survey, which this year took student and lecturer attitudes towards textbook based learning as one of its areas of focus.

Textbook use remains widespread, with 91% of lecturers responding to the survey using textbooks in their teaching. Close to 82% of lecturers agreed that print textbooks were an important resource for undergraduate teaching, with 9% disagreeing and a further 9% unsure. Comments from lecturers in favour of the majority view included: “Students often say they would rather read a book that they can hold in their hands than read online. Also, textbooks offer a comprehensive basis for concepts, theories etc and are often written in more accessible language than available online resources."  

Meanwhile students also reported a liking for textbooks, with 73% in favour, and preferring print textbooks to the digital versions in a ratio of seven to three, the survey found.

Campus bookshops also got the thumbs up in the survey, with 74% of lecturers saying it was essential to have a bookshop on campus.

Will Williams, head of academic sales at Blackwell’s, noted: “It seems the academic market is reflecting the trade sales trend with textbooks remaining the preferred format despite the huge range of digital content and resources being tested and use.” 

Blackwell’s c.e.o. David Prescott said: “It’s encouraging that textbooks remain such a vital part of study and I believe Blackwell’s are well positioned to support universities and students over the coming years. However with limited student funds and widening participation we must work with publishers to ensure that textbooks remain affordable. Continually increased pricing is not sustainable."