May 16, 2022

Report Highlights: “Textbook Trends: How U.S. College Students Source Course Materials”

From a Nielsen Blog Post:

More than two-thirds (69%) of total expenditure on course textbooks continues to go towards print materials, according to data from Nielsen’s U.S. Student Attitudes Towards Content in Higher Education report.

The research, which was based on data from interviews of over 1,800 students in two- and four-year academic institutions, found some 39% of spend goes to new print materials, 17% to used print materials and 13% to rented print materials.

Just 31% of students’ course material spend currently goes to digital formats (22% digital purchases and 9% digital rentals).

Why does print remain so popular? In large part because students say it is still the better format in key areas, including ease of reading and ease of highlighting/annotating.


One relatively new format that may accelerate the move to digital while helping with costs is open educational resources (OER). One in four students said that one of their courses had required the use of OER resources, which are legally free to use and distribute to others on public open file sharing sites.

Read the Complete Blog Post

See Also: University of Michigan’s Art, Architecture & Engineering Library Providing Access to Some E-Textbooks via Library Subscriptions

About Gary Price

Gary Price ( is a librarian, writer, consultant, and frequent conference speaker based in the Washington D.C. metro area. Before launching INFOdocket, Price and Shirl Kennedy were the founders and senior editors at ResourceShelf and DocuTicker for 10 years. From 2006-2009 he was Director of Online Information Services at, and is currently a contributing editor at Search Engine Land.