The Future is Here: e-Textbook Sales Increase 3000 Percent

May 03, 2011

Serious student studying in computer labAlthough sales of digital textbooks (eTextbooks) only account for a small fraction of the U.S. textbook market, at Barnes & Noble College bookstores, sales of eTextbooks are growing – and growing fast. Last year, our campus bookstores recorded an amazing 3000+ percent increase in eTextbook sales.

Explosive Growth in Digital

So, what accounts for the astounding growth in eTextbook sales at our bookstores? Technology is finally delivering the added value and function that students want. Unlike music’s transition to a digital format, which primarily impacted distribution, the transition of a printed textbook to a digital format changed how users interact with the content. Some of the early eTextbook reader applications offered limited functionality but today’s reader applications, like Barnes & Noble’s NOOK Study™, include a variety of innovative features that make eTextbooks a more engaging experience and a real alternative to print books. In fact, almost 20 percent of eTextbook purchases were motivated by the digital format’s “useful features” and added functionality. eTextbooks also deliver significant cost savings – selling for up to 60 percent off print textbook prices.

eTextbook Innovation

Barnes & Noble took a leadership position in this emerging and dynamic field with the launch of our feature-rich NOOK Study application. This revolutionary, easy-to-use study tool is a free dowload onto any PC or Mac (no special device required). In addition to offering instant downloads of a growing selection of eTextbooks, NOOK Study allows students to house all of their course materials – eTextbooks, lecture notes, syllabi, slides, images, trade books, and other course-related documents – in customized folders they create, so their digital library goes wherever they go. NOOK Study’s innovative features also allow students to highlight, take notes, search, tag information, and much more. Additionally, NOOK Study can be integrated into Blackboard Learn™, 8.0, 9.0 and 9.1 giving faculty greater flexibility with content delivery.

The Future of eTextbooks

Industry projections forecast 60 percent of textbook titles will be available digitally by 2014. That means that three in five textbooks will be digital in less than three years. As more eTextbooks become available, digital sales will increase considerably, creating more innovative features and utilities from eTextbook applications, and leading to greater acceptance of digital formats. The future of eTextbooks is bright, indeed, and we’re poised to deliver exactly what our students and faculty will want and need as the demand continues to soar.

Learn more about the great features, upgrades, and benefits of NOOK Study at or contact your Barnes & Noble College bookstore.