Students opting more for textbooks over e-books
In this fast-paced technological age, where students depend on electronics for everything from text messaging to surfing the Internet, a traditional textbook still prevails over its newer counterpart — the electronic book, or e-book.
“One of the reasons I don’t buy e-books is because I don’t like looking at the computer screen too long,” interdisciplinary studies junior Thi Nguyen said. “I’m more traditional. I like the whole textbook thing.”
Students have the ability to write in the margins and highlight passages in traditional textbooks, which they may refer back to at a later time.
They may also flip through the pages of their physical copies without worrying about failed Internet connections or slow page loadings.
“It sometimes takes about 15 seconds for each page to load on an e-book,” political science freshman Angela Kao said. “They are cheaper than textbooks, but they don’t include some pictures that are included within the textbook edition.”
When purchasing an e-book, students have the option of either downloading the book or having access to the Internet version.
If there is limited Internet connectivity where a student would like to study, they are unable to access their digital book, Kao said.
“You can resell textbooks, but some e-books are limited for a period of one year. You are given a username and a password and you can’t access it after that year,” Kao said.
With the rising costs of tuition and expensive textbooks, some students have turned to e-books as an outlet. The electronic books are cheaper and help students juggle the expenses of their college education.
CourseSmart, an online venture created in 2007 by five of the leading educational material publishers, aims to provide campuses with “better exposure and access to digital course materials.”
Karen Marotta, a public relations representative with the company, touts the cost-saving advantages of e-books for students.
“E-textbooks at CourseSmart are up to 60 percent off the cost of print textbooks,” Marotta said.
E-books also have the advantage of digital efficiency, with the ability to carry several electronic textbooks on a digital device without the weight of traditional textbooks.
Marotta also cites added functions of e-books that print textbooks do not have.
“You can search for one thing across all those books,” Marotta said. “You can (also) e-mail a passage from a book to your classmate.”
Although traditional textbooks are still preferred over the electronic competition, e-books are seeing a rise in usage.
“CourseSmart has experienced over 400 percent growth (in revenue) over last year. That alone shows that people are choosing the e-textbook option,” Marotta said.
Students will have to weigh their options and decide whether to purchase a hard copy or digital version of a required book for the spring semester.