Repository logo

E-textbook preferences: a case study of Information Technology students' preferences at a private higher education institution.

Thumbnail Image



Journal Title

Journal ISSN

Volume Title



Textbooks can be defined as a printed and bound artefact that consists of certain idea or information about a particular topic. The debate between using printed textbooks (traditional) or e-textbooks (digital textbooks) is ongoing in the educational sector. Students are often required to buy textbooks in order to complete a course in the university, and this textbook can either be printed or e-textbook. Students who are usually reluctant to read a printed text or electronic texts are not familiar with the advantages and disadvantages of each text, respectively. Thus, the absence of information prompts the students to employ only one kind of text either digital or printed. The purpose of this research was to investigate whether university students prefer printed textbooks or digital textbooks (e-textbooks). Through this research we will be able to discover the elements affecting the adoption of e-textbooks and printed textbooks and why university students prefer one to the other. The importance of the research is to understand why students are making the decision to use either traditional textbooks or e-textbooks and what makes them develop these preferences. The benefits that will be derived from this research will help illustrate what the students feel about traditional (printed) and e-textbooks (digital) and the choices that go into making that decision. Data was collected from Pearson Institute undergraduate students via questionnaires. The study applied the mixed methods to analyse the relationship between perceived ease of use (PEOU), perceived usefulness (PU), attitude (ATT), complexity (CMX) and compatibility (CMP) on Behavioural intention to use. A final number of 80 responders were used as the research sample. Findings from the study revealed evidence that Perceived usefulness impacts Behavioural intent to use e-textbooks, Perceived usefulness impacts attitude to use e-textbooks, Perceived ease of use affects Behavioural intent to use e-textbooks, Perceived ease of use affects Perceived usefulness to use etextbooks, Perceived ease of use affects attitude to use e-textbooks, Attitude affects Behavioural intent to use e-textbooks., Compatibility impacts Behavioural intent to use e-textbooks, Compatibility impacts perceived usefulness to use e-textbooks, Complexity has little or no influence on intention to use etextbooks and complexity has little or no influence on intention to use e-textbooks. The overall result led to the conclusion that students prefer e-textbook to the printed textbook.


Masters Degree. University of KwaZulu-Natal, Durban.