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(But digital alternatives are on the radar for many)

(Victoria, BC 7 August 2008) Most university students still want to own traditional paper-based textbooks but a significant number have tried – or are seriously considering – digital alternatives, according to a poll conducted by

The survey of 1,578 students in July revealed 79 per cent want to use traditional books in classes but 21 per cent are considering purchasing an e-reader device to read digital versions of textbooks, plus 22 per cent had already bought an electronic textbook in some format. is a major online marketplace offering thousands of new and used textbooks from booksellers around the globe. High prices have always been the overpowering issue for AbeBooks’ student customers and the poll reveals financial fears have not diminished.

  • 86 per cent of the students questioned had spent up to $800 on textbooks during the previous 12 months;
  • 91 per cent believed textbook prices have continued to rise over the past two years;
  • 43 per cent thought recent legislation was helping to reduce textbook prices, but 22 per cent thought legislation had not cut costs and 35 per cent were undecided;
  • 18 per cent had experimented with textbook rental programs.

The major motivation for abandoning traditional books and adopting electronic textbooks would be price, according to the poll. A third of the students (33 per cent) would want to save 41 to 60 per cent on a book’s list price before purchasing a digital textbook, 23 per cent would want a saving of 61 to 80 per cent and 24 per cent would want a saving of over 80 per cent.

The poll also revealed the supply of used textbooks for the fall semester would remain limited as 50 per cent of the students polled had not resold their old college books.


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An online marketplace for new, used, rare and out-of-print books, offers millions of books for sale from thousands of booksellers around the world. AbeBooks has been selling books online since 1996, and is based in Victoria, BC Canada.

Richard Davies, PR manager, AbeBooks Office Ph: 250-412-3238 Email