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How can governments nudge students to become ebook readers? Evidence from Indonesia

Ahmad R. Pratama (Department of Informatics, Universitas Islam Indonesia, Yogyakarta, Indonesia)
Firman M. Firmansyah (Department of Technology and Society, Stony Brook University, Stony Brook, New York, USA)

Digital Library Perspectives

ISSN: 2059-5816

Article publication date: 5 November 2020

Issue publication date: 11 August 2021




The purpose of this study is to investigate if and how government intervention can nudge students to become ebook readers.


A cross-sectional survey research design was adopted for this study. A total of 1,144 students from four middle and high schools in urban and rural areas of Indonesia participated in this study. The results from statistical analyses were further discussed through the lens of the nudge theory.


This paper founds evidence that government intervention in the form of the Buku Sekolah Elektronik (BSE) policy that has been providing free electronic textbooks for more than a decade can help nudge students to become ebook readers. After controlling for student’s demographic information, this paper founds that their awareness of such a policy is significantly associated with a stronger preference toward ebooks while having no significant effect on their preferences toward printed book format. This paper also founds that mobile device adoption plays an important role where early adopters tend to prefer ebook format, whereas laggards are more associated with printed book format.


Many have studied the benefits of using ebooks in learning, but the literature also shows that most students still prefer reading printed books over ebooks. This is true not only in developing countries where problems with infrastructures can hamper the adoption of ebooks in general but also in developed countries where ebooks are much more prevalent, even among the general population. This paper showed how government interventions have the potency to help tip the scales and nudge students to become ebook readers.



This study was self-funded by the authors and received no direct funding support from the Indonesian Government.

The authors would like to thank Mr Rahmadi (RIP) who recently passed away due to the COVID-19 pandemic for his help in data collection.


Pratama, A.R. and Firmansyah, F.M. (2021), "How can governments nudge students to become ebook readers? Evidence from Indonesia", Digital Library Perspectives, Vol. 37 No. 3, pp. 275-288.



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