eTextbooks: To Buy or Not To Buy?

Every college student has to have textbooks for at least some of their classes. Let’s face it, though – it’s 2012 and it’s no joke that we are moving into a more digital age, even in the classroom. You see, many of us have considered that other option before committing to a textbook purchase but we have never been 100% sure if they are a good idea or not. Now, before your next semester starts, you should take these facts into consideration before you commit to either option.

Price

The Winner: Depends!

This is probably the number one factor that students consider when they are shopping for their textbooks. When you think about how much money to spend, you would think that buying eTextbooks would be cheaper. Think about it: they don’t use paper or any materials for the covers. The sad truth, though, is that eBooks aren’t always the cheapest option. Sure, you might end up saving hundreds of dollars when you buy the eBook for your multimedia class, but another book might only be ten or twenty dollars cheaper. Oftentimes, books with new information or patented ideas are going to expensive regardless of the type of book you buy, just because of royalties and intelligence rights. Some eBooks are available to rent for the year for as low as thirty or forty dollars, but other books require you BUY the e-version… and you can’t then sell it back. Plus, you can’t buy used eTextbooks in the first place, so if you want to go cheap all the way, make sure you do your homework. It might be smarter to get some books for your tablet, but hard copies of others- make sure you don’t end up spending more than you would have originally under the pretext of ‘saving money’.

Availability

The Winner: Textbooks

One of the downsides of eTextbooks is the fact that not all textbooks are available digitally- according to an article posted by Boston University, Barnes and Noble only offers roughly 26% of the textbooks they sell as digital versions. Some publishers aren’t down with the times and haven’t made their books available yet, and others face copyright obstacles. So, for that reason, many of your textbooks can’t even be bought as an eTextbook. Make sure you consider this before waiting the night before your first quiz to download the book, because you might not even find it.

Weight and Compactness

The Winner: eTextbooks

The dreadful load of textbooks that weigh you down everyday is a pain. I’m sure your Kindle Fire, Nexus 7, or iPad 3 is lighter than your usual stack of textbooks…. so if you’re either a commuter without a car or someone who has to carry books everywhere, the best choice is going digital with as many textbooks as you can. You can also have your key studying tool with you wherever you take your tablet, which will make you want to study more. Right? It was a nice thought.

When you take these three topics into consideration, it looks like the good ole’ normal textbooks takes the cake for some, while eBooks are perfect for others. Always go with the option that best fits your lifestyle and personality.

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