By Devan Paleschic
Everyone is aware that technology is always finding a way to change our way of life. One way that technology is changing the way we do things is the way we access information for our education. Today many students are using online textbooks or “Ebooks”, in place of the traditional textbook. But are these online books really worth it?
According to The Washington Post writers, Ylan Q. Mui and Susan Kinzie, students spend on average $700 to $1,100 on textbooks annually. That breaks down to be between $350 and $500 a semester on textbooks alone. With the invention of the Ebook, students are now able to cut back the amount of money they are spending on textbooks each semester. Websites such as Coursesmart.com provide students with an easy way to find the textbooks for class without having to spend the same amount they would in the college bookstore.
One class that the majority of the student body is required to take is Effective Speech class. The book for this class “Guide to Public Speaking” can be found in the bookstore for $88 new. The Ebook on Coursesmart.com is $32, saving the student $56 on one textbook.
Ebooks not only save the student money on textbooks, but it also provides them with many other benefits. Ebooks are loaded with many extra features to aid students in studying. Some online textbooks come with programs that have online
quizzes where students can practice skills they are supposed to learn. The books also provide students with tools such as a highlighter to highlight the online text, and notes that they can place with in the book to refer back to later. Eric Sparks, a sophomore at Rutgers University, says that Ebooks are much more convenient than the standard textbook, “I can keep all of my books in one place, rather than having to rush out to my car to grab more books in between classes.”
There are going to be some drawbacks to using an online textbook. Many people like to be able to hold the actual textbook in their hands rather than read off of a computer screen. Dani Leach, a sophomore here at Cumberland County says, “I would much rather be able to flip the pages of a book, and not have to rely on technology that can work one day and might not the next.”
Online books might not be the best option for everyone. It would be difficult to use an online book to its full potential if the student doesn’t have access to reliable Internet, or some source of technology where they could access their book any time they need. There are many websites students can review to compare prices of Ebooks, and find one that could be useful for them. Coursemart.com’s website is very easy to access, and has a large selection of textbooks. Another medium to get Ebooks is on the Nook, by Barnes and Noble. They have an application called “Nook Study” that can be downloaded onto your laptop or directly onto your Nook. Many of the Ebook websites offer free trial periods and allow you to access the text to see if you are comfortable with it. Whether or not you find these online textbooks useful and worth dealing with the technology, all depends on personal preference.