USC Bookstore sets record with tablet sales last year

The USC Pertusati Bookstore reported Friday that it had the largest number of iPad sales across college campuses nationwide with sales reaching an all-time high of $12 million last year.

Director of USC Bookstores Dan Archer attributes the increased tablet computer sales to Apple’s release of the iPad 2 last March.

“Sales of other tablets are miniscule,” Archer said. “Apple products are a majority of everything sold [at USC]. This has always been an Apple campus, even going back in the ‘90s.”

Students are using tablets in the classroom and for fun, Archer said.

“Tablets are such a convenient tool to use,” Archer said. “You can pull up stats while watching sports, surf the web or take notes in class.”

Lillian But, a sophomore majoring in biological sciences, said tablet computers’ note-taking capabilities are particularly helpful for college students.

“Tablets are great because they allow you to write directly on the screen,” But said. “I see students drawing graphs on their iPads during science lectures.”

The Marshall School of Business also found that handwritten notes are a more convenient method than notes taken on tablets, according to Archer.

“The Marshall School of Business found that the iPad was cumbersome in the classroom because lecturers talked too quickly for students to take notes on tablets,” Archer said.

According to a study conducted by the Pew Research Center’s Excellence in Journalism project, 11 percent of American adults now own some form of a tablet computer. Of these tablet owners, 77 percent reports using the technology on a daily basis, spending an average of 90 minutes per day on them.

ZDNet, a business technology website, also conducted a survey that revealed 16 percent of mobile customers have purchased a tablet computer and another 41 percent plan to buy a tablet in the next 12 months.

The increase in tablet sales also comes at a time when eBook availability has risen. Though few textbooks are available electronically, other types of books on syllabuses are often available online.

“Many eBooks are now available for course material,” Archer said. “EBook sales are still small in comparison to overall course material sales, but inevitably course material is going to go in the direction of eBooks.”

Nicholas Kosturos, a freshman majoring in political science, said he tries to download as many eBooks as he can for his classes.

“Not only are eBooks cheaper, but using eBooks is also more convenient and more green,” Kosturos said. “An eBook gives you way more tools, like the dictionary, and it can be downloaded on any device you own.”

Still, some students prefer physical copies of books, even when electronic ones are available. Vincci Lau, a freshman majoring in international relations, said she prefers using tangible rather than electronic course material.

“Not having an actual book in my hands takes away the authenticity of the reading experience,” Lau said.

Archer said tablets illustrate how technology is revolutionizing the sharing of information in an academic and personal setting.

“The streamline use of technology to disseminate info will keep being used, but the device itself will forever be changing,” Archer said. “Tablets are all over the place right now, but something else will pop up.”