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About 80% Of College Students Suffer Textbook Injuries

Armen Hareyan's picture

Textbook Injuries

According to a startling new study, 80 percent of students say they sustained some form of injury from their textbooks. The study conducted by Zogby on behalf of CafeScribe.com, a web site that promotes electronic textbooks, comes just as students prepare to resume school.

Many of the 600 students surveyed reported potentially serious health issues as the result of buying, reading, carrying, or using a textbook; including neck pain/strain (53%) and back pain/strain (39%). Nearly half (47%) suffered eye strain.

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"I was surprised," confessed CafeScribe.com CEO Bryce Johnson, who hoped the study would further explain the human relationship with paper textbooks. "We wanted to understand why people prefer the physical book experience over an electronic version to develop a comparable virtual experience," he said.

Concerns about back injuries from heavy backpacks has prompted legislators in several states -- including New York, New Jersey, California and Wisconsin -- to seek legal limits on the weight of books students are required to lug to and from school.

For decades futurists have predicted paper books would give way to electronic textbooks, whose practical advantages include lower costs, greater portability, hyperlinked text, and searchability among other benefits.

The CafeScribe.com poll touches on the complexity of our ongoing relationship with books. Survey questions also revealed students' strong association between smells and books. CafeScribe.com provides an old-book-scented scratch and sniff sticker with every e-textbook purchase.

About the poll: The survey carries a +/- 4.1 percentage point margin of error and was conducted by Zogby International using an online panel representative of the adult population of the U.S. A total of 591 college students completed the survey between August 15-21, 2007. For more detail on the methodology and results, please visit the CafeScribe.com media center.