The battle of the e-textbook: Libraries’ role in facilitating student acceptance and use of e-textbooks

Melanie Wiese, Giselle du Plessis


The objective of this study is to investigate students’ acceptance and use of e-textbooks to enable libraries to make better informed decisions about their e-book collections. The data were collected in a classroom situation surveying students that had been exposed to e-textbooks. A self-completion questionnaire was used and 254 usable questionnaires were received back. The results showed that most students would prefer to have both a printed and an e-textbook, followed by a printed textbook. Although almost half of the respondents indicated that they would prefer it if the library were to buy more e-textbooks; the others did not see a need for this option; or, alternatively, they did not care at all. However, only 44% of respondents indicated that they knew how to get access to the electronic collection in the library. It was, furthermore, a matter of concern that 82% of the respondents never, or rarely, made use of e-textbooks from the library. It is up to universities, and more specifically libraries, as distributors of information, to take the lead in developing policies, processes, and strategies to deal with e-textbooks, and to manage this electronic challenge successfully.


Libraries; Technology Acceptance Model (TAM); e-textbooks; students

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