58% of college students prefer digital over print for textbook reading.

According to a new survey from the Pearson Foundation, the majority of U.S. college students now prefer digital formats whether they’re reading textbooks or “fun” books.

“Survey on Students and Tablets 2012” (PDF) polled 1,206 U.S. college students and 204 college-bound high school seniors. Some findings:

—College students prefer digital over print for “fun” reading (57 percent) and textbook reading (58 percent), “a reversal from last year, when more students preferred print over digital.” Pearson says the trend is also apparent among high-school seniors (though it doesn’t break out which format the majority prefer), “and is mostly driven by an increase in the preference to use tablets for reading.” The study doesn’t ask whether students are using tablets or e-ink e-readers for reading.

—A quarter of college students now own a tablet, compared to just 7 percent last year. Seventeen percent of college-bound high school seniors own a tablet, compared to four percent last year.

—Thirty-five percent of college students who own a tablet also own “an e-book reader or small tablet device.” (Not sure what a “small tablet device” is! Asking Pearson.)

—Among college students who own tablets, the iPad is the most popular (63 percent), followed by the Kindle Fire (26 percent) and Samsung Galaxy Tab (15 percent).

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