Textbook options are expanding and the electronic text is poised to become prevalent in the college classroom. Cost pressures are driving this trend even as the academic value of e-textbooks has yet to be established. Limited research is available that examines the effectiveness of the e-textbook as a learning tool. This paper presents the results of a study that compares student performance in two sections of an online course, one using an e-textbook and the other using a paper-based text. No significant difference in student performance was found. However, until e-textbook format and features are standardized and business models generate sizable cost savings, e-textbook adoption is likely to evolve slowly.
Issues in Informing Science and Information Technology