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According to The Chronicle of Higher Education:

The Pearson Foundation sponsored the second-annual survey, which asked 1,206 college students and 204 college-bound high-school seniors about their tablet ownership. The results suggest students increasingly prefer to use the devices for reading.

One-fourth of the college students surveyed said they owned a tablet, compared with just 7 percent last year. Sixty-three percent of college students believe tablets will replace textbooks in the next five years—a 15 percent increase over last year’s survey. More than a third said they intended to buy a tablet sometime in the next six months.

This year’s poll also found that the respondents preferred digital books over printed ones.

Sorry to directly quote so much, but I thought it’d be important to include those few paragraphs. This hearkens back to our discussion as to whether students prefer tablets for reading as opposed to the traditional method.

It’s clear that while there are a number of traditionalists, students are willing to join in this tablet trend in droves. Their hope that tablet editions will replace textbooks in five years is a bit starry-eyed, but it does lead to the question, “When will publishers step up?”

Magazine publishers made a big deal about creating editions of their publications for the iPad, but the same excitement hasn’t been seen in academia. Even though academic publishing rakes in big profits, it’s an industry that’s slow to innovate or take advantage of new media, or does so in a way that intentionally robs students blind (especially in business and science curricula).

But, with universities themselves embracing tablets through giveaways and the creation of campus-specific applications (Rutgers has one), it’s a sure thing students will feel more and more comfortable with their iPads.

Image courtesy Brock University