In recent years, the costs of college textbooks have become extraordinarily high and have added to the significant financial burden that comes with attending a university. In hopes of finding a cheaper alternative, many students have looked toward a new and more affordable option: e-textbooks.
E-textbooks are textbook publications made available through digital platforms, meaning that they are purchased and downloaded on electronic devices. Students should consider e-textbooks for multiple reasons. Not only are they more affordable, but they are also more beneficial due to the interactive features that traditional textbooks fail to offer.
The main issue with traditional textbooks is the cost. Annually, the average college student spends more than $1,200 on books and materials. Although certain websites may resell textbooks at a cheaper price than at college bookstores, buying e-textbooks is still the more affordable option. Most online textbooks cost about 60 percent less than print versions, and for college students already on a budget, that price difference is critical.
An e-textbook can be wirelessly downloaded and used immediately after the book is ordered. Unlike e-textbooks, traditional textbooks can take weeks to arrive in the mail, and shipping can be costly. Not only do students have to wait for traditional textbooks to arrive in the mail, but there is no certainty that when trying to purchase the textbook it will be in stock.
Although e-textbooks are not tangible, most e-textbooks allow for users to print the pages.
For a student with multiple classes, the trouble of carrying around multiple textbooks is the last thing that they should worry about. By having multiple heavy textbooks, it can not only be difficult to carry but can sometimes lead a student to leave one at home in hopes of lightening the load. E-textbooks give students the option of having multiple textbooks compressed into one easy-to-carry electronic device.
E-textbooks also offer several interactive features. E-textbooks typically offer a table of contents that allows students to navigate through specific chapters and sections of a book, as well as search functions that allow for finding specific keywords or phrases in the text. Skipping to a specific page is as simple as typing a page number into the search menu. Although each e-textbook varies in the tools it provides, additional functions can include zoom options, interactive media sources, offline viewing and an interactive glossary.
Not only do e-textbooks include additional features that allow users to interact with the book, but they also include features that traditional textbooks have. Similar to traditional textbooks, e-textbooks allow users to bookmark pages and highlight notes in the text. Although e-textbooks are not tangible, most e-textbooks allow for users to print the pages.
Unlike traditional textbooks, e-textbooks are environmentally friendly and don’t require the use of paper.
Being environmentally friendly plays a vital role in our society today, and e-textbooks can help in the preservation of trees. E-textbooks are entirely based online, which means that no trees are needed to manufacture the paper for the pages of the book, unlike traditional textbooks.
Although e-textbooks do provide several beneficial factors to students, e-textbooks can lack features that traditional textbooks have. For example, although e-textbooks are cheaper than traditional textbooks, an electronic device is required in order to download the online textbook, which may be an issue for those who don’t own an electronic device. But while e-textbooks require an electronic device, there is only the need for a one-time purchase of a tablet or laptop. Once bought, it can hold several textbooks and can save the student hundreds of dollars throughout their time in college.
E-textbooks offer a variety of beneficial factors to college students looking for a cheaper alternative to traditional textbooks. Unlike traditional textbooks, e-textbooks are environmentally friendly and don’t require the use of paper. E-textbooks can compress multiple textbooks into one device, making the struggle of carrying multiple textbooks, and even leaving one behind, disappear. E-textbooks are a leading candidate when it comes to choosing the best option for college textbooks.
Photo by Kayla Florenco