In the past few years, the number of people relying on digital textbooks has skyrocketed. Not only are these online editions often cheaper than hard copies, but they’re also easily accessible via tablet, computer and even smartphone. Though these shifts in the way students view school material bring a few definite positives to light, they also have drawbacks.
The original purchase price of the online text may be a decent amount less than that of the print version, but there’s no option to sell back an online book when you’re done using it. This means students have no way to make back any portion of the initial price they spent buying the text.
Additionally, scientists have proven that readers tend to absorb significantly less from the material they’re reading when they read from an electronic device. During assessments such as exams and essays, this means students will have a harder time recalling the information they’ve read.
Another issue is that the consumer has to access the Internet in order to utilize online books. This can be an inconvenience when there’s no Internet available.
I’ve found online texts to be incredibly ineffective. Not only do I dislike reading text from a computer screen — I also don’t retain nearly as much information by reading this way. It makes it difficult to be an active reader who highlights and takes notes.
Admittedly, online textbooks cut back on paper usage and lessen the original purchase price of these titles, but their unwelcome disadvantages have the potential to prevent students from retaining the information they need to succeed throughout college.