Are E-Books Worth It? the Pros and Cons of Electronic Textbooks for College

electronic textbooks

In 2019, the total revenue generated by the e-book publishing industry in the United States was a staggering $3.3 billion. While this amount may be slightly lower than the revenue generated in the previous year, it’s still an indication of how popular e-books are in an increasingly digitized world. Electronic textbooks make up a significant percentage of all the e-books sold in the country.

That’s because for college students, buying and studying course textbooks is an essential part of good performance. In this day and age, digital college books have a strong allure to students the world over.

But are electronic books worth it? 

Over the years, the e-books vs. textbooks for college education debate has been a heated one. Some people prefer paper-based textbooks, while others swear by digital books. Some say that both printed textbooks and e-textbooks are beneficial. 

So which should you pick? We’ve prepared a definitive guide on some of the top e-books pros and cons to help you decide. Read on to learn more.

Pros of Buying Electronic Textbooks

There’s a good reason for the unquestionable popularity of e-textbooks. Here are five reasons you may want to give these textbooks a go.

1. A single Device Can Carry Numerous Books

One of the biggest benefits of digital textbooks is that they’re highly portable. One e-book reader is more than enough to carry all the textbooks you want. Instead of having to carry several bulky books in your bag, you can store thousands of e-books on your e-reader and easily carry them around.

And since all the books are in one small device, you get to save lots of space.

2. E-Textbook are Accessible Everywhere

The good thing with electronic books is that you can always download them and store them to use later. You can carry a digital textbook around and read it anytime you want. If you want to go through the book while traveling or at home, you can easily do so.

Today, some e-readers allow you to access learning material offline. That means you can always use the e-book, whether you have an internet connection or not.

3. There are Easy Updates

In most cases, the contents of electronic books are cloud-based. This makes it easy to update the content at any given time.

When authors or publishers update the information on e-textbooks, you’ll always be able to access the most recent digital content. For authors and publishers, the ability to easily update information saves time and reprinting costs.

4. The Content  is Shareable 

Once you’ve downloaded a digital textbook, you can share any content you like with multiple users at once. Many e-book readers have a social feature that lets users share and like e-books. Printed books have no such feature, so you can only share a book with one person at a time.

5. E-Books Are Cost-Effective

Digital textbooks can be incredibly cheap. Many of them are free. That’s a huge reason why these textbooks are preferred by college students who are always on the lookout for ways to save money.

But why are e-book prices so friendly?

Firstly, there are no added shipping and delivery costs for digital e-textbooks. Additionally, the cost of paper and printing are also eliminated. It’s the reason most digital textbooks cost less than half the price of printed versions. 

6. E-Books have Interactive Elements

E-textbooks often come with many interactive features to enhance the reading experience and make it more engaging. Many of these textbooks allow the embedding of audio and video. Most digital information contains external links for additional information, 

Users that wish to bookmark certain pages can do so quickly and effortlessly. The same applies to making annotations or performing searches of particular words and phrases.

Cons of Buying E-Textbooks

While e-textbooks have a ton of benefits, they’re not perfect. Below we discuss some of the drawbacks of purchasing a digital college textbook.

1. E-Readers Can Cause Eye Strain

A common challenge associated with illuminated screens is that the user can strain their eyes if they stare at it for extended periods.  That’s especially true if you’re poring over digital pages late into the night while preparing for an exam or class project.  Printed textbooks hardly strain your eyes, as long there’s enough light close to you.

2. E-Books Rely On Access to Technology

Online textbooks may be highly flexible, but their heavy reliance on expensive electronic devices and internet access pose a problem. Not every college student can afford an iPad or a reliable computer. If you don’t have the right device, you have to rely on those who do or stick to the library.

3. You Can’t Resell E-Textbooks

When you’re in college, you’re always looking for ways to make extra cash.

One of the best things about purchasing physical textbooks is that you can always sell them back to the stores you bought them from. Other college students may also be willing to buy the book from you, which gets you some quick cash. 

With an online textbook, you can never resell them once you’ve made a purchase. Therefore, if you’re looking to get some of your money back once the semester is through, you may want to stick to printed textbooks. 

4. E-Books Are Too Close To Online Distractions

One of the surest ways to stay on track while in college is to cut down distractions. But the irresistible appeal of online entertainment and social media can prove quite distracting when you’re trying to read a digital textbook. 

When your favorite social media site is only a tap away, the temptation to click on it can be overwhelming. Those frequent distractions from your study time can hinder your academic progress in the long run.

Choosing Between E-Textbook and Print Versions

Ultimately, the choice between electronic textbooks and paper-based textbooks boils down to your personal preferences. If you’re big on portability, accessibility, affordability, and the ability to share content, then a digital textbook is ideal for you. But if you’re wary of straining your eyes and online distractions, you may want to think twice before purchasing e-textbooks.

If you want to enjoy life in college, embrace our textbook rental services today.