Thursday, February 28, 2013

The Benefits of eBooks

By Sean Scarpiello

After a recent trip to the college bookstore, I saw that there were a lot of signs up advertising eBooks. While I have heard about eBooks before, it was not until recently that my school had started to pass down the benefits of eBooks to students. Essentially, eBooks are the same as the books that anyone can buy in print; however, they are accessible only on a device such as a laptop, iPad, Kindle, or other tablet. Along with the benefits of pulling up a  textbook's worth of data on a small device, eBooks often have special features allowing users to highlight, bookmark, and take notes all within their eBooks. This allows for ease of use and greater benefits for the user. In addition to all of this, I was most surprised by the costs of eBooks for students.

Surprisingly, eBooks, which offer many services and are more convenient than traditional textbooks are, in many cases, cheaper. At first, this is shocking because eBooks offer features and even have simulations, videos, and other multimedia outlets to help students learn. With more thought however, it makes sense why eBooks are cheaper. There are no costs spent on printing and binding the textbook, as well as no transportation or shipping costs. In addition, eBooks are much simpler to access as they can be downloaded at any time from any place with an internet connection. They can be purchased with a credit card, debit card, and even through websites such as iTunes, Amazon, and Barnes and Noble. Since students have so many different options available to quickly browse at different prices, they can take advantage of deals and sales right as they pop up.

More importantly, returning back to my college’s bookstore, many companies allow students to rent eBooks. This is done by allowing students to purchase the book to have and use over a certain amount of time. In some respects, this may not be beneficial in the case of certain majors in college. For instance, Chemistry majors would not want to rent an introductory chemistry book because they would eventually lose it and be unable to return to and reference it in upper level chemistry classes. However, if chemistry majors simply rented eBooks outside of their major, such as English or History books, they would save a lot of money because once the class is over, there is a rare chance that they will need to reference one of these textbooks. This case also holds true when you take into consideration the amount of money students spend on textbooks. Often times at the end of the semester or school-year, students then become a part of text book buy back projects where companies buy students’ book back in exchange for cash. While this sounds like a good idea to the average college student, these companies often pay students significantly less than what the business ultimately turns it around to resell it for. Therefore, a rented eBook would save money for the student from the very moment they purchase the book.

The one flaw that is associated with the eBooks is that they require expensive computer devices that must have a lot of memory to store all of the textbooks. This is difficult because the devices alone cost just as much as a semester of traditional textbooks. However, once students invest in a high quality device, the money saved buying eBooks as opposed to regular textbooks will save the student money in the long run. For schools implementing the use of eBooks, they too will save money as eBooks cannot be lost or wear out like traditional textbooks. Plus, many of the devices available to use and store eBooks have many other utilities and useful gadgets that can be used in other areas of education or recreation.

eBooks are quickly becoming more and more popular and it would be smart for students and educational professionals to look into buying or renting eBooks for classes. While they are much more versatile and easy to use as compared with traditional textbooks, they are much cheaper too. Once students and educators can clear the hurdle of the initial investment of the device to use and store the eBooks, they will quickly save money as they buy more eBooks.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Nice blog. Yes, today e-learning is rising with high speed. Students can learn easily with the advanced technology.