Colleges, such as Indiana University and Cornell have adopted programs that force students to use e-book versions of their text books. The USA Today article “Some Universities Require Students to Use e-Textbook” , explains how universities are justifying this choice, much to the student’s dismay. I for one am against reading text electronically. It’s harder for me to focus on the material, and it hurts my eyes. Call me old fashioned, but there’s something helpful in the ability to just hold a book and scan the text. Though you can “mark” the text on an e-reader, it is more of a hassle than just using a highlighter or jotting a note in the margins.
I understand that the universities are trying to cut down on book costs. Colleges can work with publishing companies and receive great deals digital texts. If the price is reduced by 15 dollars for every 100 you spend on text books, you’ll save a lot of money in the long term. But do the advantages really outweigh the disadvantages?
Lower-end e-books cost around 100 dollars, and have no defined life ( see here). The software will need to be upgraded, and you run the risk of losing saved books with program patches/upgrades or viruses. You have to worry about battery life, which would be worrisome in a lecture. If your e-book dies in the middle of a lecture, you’ll be screwed. To add insult to injury, some e-books don’t accept some file types. If you want to download “Lives On the Boundary”, but it uses a weird file format, you won’t be able to read it.
I would love to hear everyone’s opinions on this.