Electronic Textbooks: Antecedents of Students’ Adoption and Learning Outcomes

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Faculty and students are increasingly faced with the opportunity to use electronic versions of textbooks (e-texts). Despite the advantages of e-texts and recent advances in technology, evidence suggests that students are still reluctant to adopt and use e-texts. This situation leads us to investigate two research questions: What factors contribute to students’ acceptance of e-texts? Are there differences between hardcopy texts and e-texts when it comes to course grade? We draw on a variety of perspectives (i.e., psychology, management information systems, economics, environmental studies) to build a framework that allows us to determine the motivations of students for adopting e-texts, and the learning outcomes of e-text adoption. Data was collected via a survey administered in the business school of a metropolitan university with approximately 20,000 students, located in the western United States. Results suggest that perceived ease-of-use and the price of e-texts relative to hardcopy texts are two key motivators in e-text adoption, while perceived usefulness, Internet self-efficacy and environmental concerns are not significant motivators. However, there was no significant difference in the grades of e-text adopters compared to hardcopy adopters. We conclude this paper by discussing the implications of our findings for educators.