Factors Influencing Students’ Likelihood to Purchase Electronic Textbooks

R. W. Stone
L. Baker-Eveleth


Technological advances touch multiple aspects of an individual’s life. One such example is the use of information technology to provide online books. Online books have been introduced in education in the form of electronic textbooks (e-texts). The research question examined here is among those students who have purchased or used an e-text, what factors motivate their willingness or likelihood to purchase an e-text? A model and hypotheses linking the factors of usefulness, arousal, ease of use, value, and effort to the likelihood to purchase an electronic textbook are presented. The model and hypotheses are tested using a sample of 529 student responses to a questionnaire distributed in a mid-sized university in the western United States. Using these responses, the model and hypotheses are tested using a structural equations approach and maximum likelihood estimation. The results indicate that an e-text’s usefulness, its ease of use, and students’ arousal regarding the e-text significantly impact students’ likelihood to purchase an e-text. However, the student’s perceived value of an e-text and how worthwhile their effort to search for low price textbooks did not impact these students’ likelihood to purchase an electronic textbook. A discussion and conclusions are also presented.


Electronic textbooks, Factors influencing purchase, Ease of use, Usefulness, Technology


Looking at a sample of 529 students, this study seeks to find out what motivates students’ reasons for purchasing e-text. Focusing on business and retail modeled theories of consumer purchasing, the study finds that students are more likely to purchase e-text’s if they find the content useful, easy to use, and are aroused (interested and stimulated) by the e-text. Perceived value and effort of finding lower priced textbooks did not affect students’ likeness of buying an e-text. Findings mirrored those of Falc (2013) in both significant variables for and against purchasing e-texts. However, the present study is more generalizable as it surveyed students across the university compared to Falc’s study of looking at just public speaking students.

Ultimately, the researchers suggest that if faculty want students to use e-texts, then faculty need to educate students on e-texts’ benefits. Likewise, e-text creators have the responsibility to make their products attractive and user-friendly for students who are hesitant to adapt the new technology.

APA Citation

Stone, R. W., & Baker-Eveleth, L. (2013). Factors influencing students’ likelihood to purchase electronic textbooks. Interdisciplinary Journal of E-Learning and Learning Objects, 9, 89-103.

About the Study

Links to Article https://scholar.google.com/scholar?hl=en&as_sdt=5%2C50&sciodt=0%2C50&cites=17567528492789763304&scipsc=&q=Factors+Influencing+Students%E2%80%99+Likelihood+to+Purchase+Electronic+Textbooks&btnG=
Mode Technology-enhanced
Publication Type Journal Article
In Publication Interdisciplinary Journal of E-Learning and Learning Objects
Type of Research Quantitative
Research Design Survey research (qualitative or quantitative)
Intervention/Areas of Study Other
Level of Analysis Student-level
Specific Populations Examined Undergraduates
Peer-Reviewed Yes
Specific Institutional Characteristics of Interest 4-year Institution, Doctorate-granting, Public
Specific Course or Program Characteristics
Outcome Variables of Interest Academic achievement or performance, including assessment scores and course grades
Student Sample Size 500 +
Citing Articles https://scholar.google.com/scholar?cites=10325380016357039679&as_sdt=5,50&sciodt=0,50&hl=en