Academic journal article Management Dynamics

An Empirical Investigation of Students' Behavioural Intention to Use E-Books

Academic journal article Management Dynamics

An Empirical Investigation of Students' Behavioural Intention to Use E-Books

Article excerpt

INTRODUCTION

Technological innovations have revolutionised our daily lives (Jung, Chan-Olmsted, Park and Kim, 2012). One area that has been particularly affected is the way we read (Jung et ah, 2012; Zinn and Langdown, 2011). The practice of reading books or magazines is taking on a new dimension with the emergence of electronic books (or 'e-books'). The treasured hardbound printed book is gradually making way for e-books (Lee, 2013), which have become a part of the flow of digitised content across the globe (Wischenbart, 2013).

Many readers are becoming more accustomed to using e-books owing to their flexibility and accessibility (Loebbecke, Bartscher, Weiss and Weniger, 2010; Woody, Daniel and Baker, 2010). Statistics show that the number of Americans above the age of 16 who read e-books increased in 2012 from 16 per cent to 23 per cent; whereas those who read printed books decreased from 72 per cent to 67 per cent (Wischenbart, 2013). In the same period, e-books accounted for approximately 20 per cent of total book sales in the United States, and this market share is projected to rise dramatically in the future (Siegle, 2012). In the United Kingdom and Australia, similar penetration rates were recorded: 17 per cent and 19 per cent respectively (Bowker, 2012). However, the e-book adoption rate in South Africa is only 1.5 per cent ofthe total book market (PASA, 2012).

The South African book market is dominated by the sale of educational books. In 2012, the educational book market constituted 57 per cent of total book sales. This figure is projected to rise to 61 per cent in 2017 (PwC, 2013). Most major publishers of educational books are poised to parallel this projected growth with increased e-book penetration rates by offering substantial portions of their printed books as e-books as well. These will be marketed to students in tertiary educational institutions as lowercost options (Quinn, 2011). Understanding students' behavioural intention to use e-books provides critical insight and can enhance the impact of efforts to increase this use, as there is a link between behavioural intention and future behaviour (Fishbein and Middlestadt, 2012; Karaali, Gumussoy and Casilir, 2011).

Despite the widespread importance of behavioural intention in consumer practice and its extensive use in practice, there is a dearth of research that focuses on the factors that influence behavioural intention towards e-book use (Jung et al., 2012; Lai and Chang, 2011; Stone and Baker-Eveleth, 2013). Existing research (e.g. Aharony, 2014; Cassidy, Martinez and Shen, 2012; Berg, Hoffmann and Dawson, 2010) has mainly explored the usability of e-books in educational settings rather than expected use.

The purpose of this study was to understand the factors that influence behavioural intention towards e-book use among students in tertiary inhibions in South Africa against the background of an adapted Unified Theory of Acceptance and Use of Technology (UTAUT) model (Venkatesh et al., 2003). The study examined students' behavioural intention to use e-books in general, and is thus not limited to e-book use either in voluntary (e.g. reading for leisure) or involuntary (e.g. prescribed for use by institution) usage settings.

The objectives of this study were to:

* Ascertain whether performance expectancy, effort expectancy, social influence and facilitating conditions significantly influence South African tertiary students' behavioural intention to use e-books;

* Clarify which factors are instmmental in influencing students'behavioural intention to use e-books;

* Assess the role of gender and use experience in moderating the influence of performance expectancy, effort expectancy, social influence and facilitating conditions on behavioural intention towards using e-books.

Identifying factors that influence behavioural intention towards e-book use will not only contribute to the emerging body of literature on e-book acceptance, but will also provide valuable insights for developers and marketers of e-books, enabling them to promote and expedite the acceptance of e-books among students in tertiary institutions in South Africa. …

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