E-textbooks are superior to physical textbooks in every way

Maria Duque/Contributing Writer

College textbooks are infamously expensive, often costing one or two hundred dollars for the latest editions.

They’re heavy and they use an unsustainable amount of paper each year.

As someone who appreciates paper books, I can recognize that when it comes to textbooks, digital versions are more convenient for busy students needing to buy several per semester.

Books account for 30 million trees that are cut down each year.

While this is not specific to textbooks, they surely occupy a significant part of this amount, considering their size and the number printed every year.

Naturally, electronic textbooks have become more popular, as they are often cheaper, portable and easier to use than physical books.

On Environmental Week, we should consider the benefits of implementing an e-textbook only policy.

Since they do not use paper, e-textbooks are an important resource that universities can emphasize to cut down on their environmental impact.

While published books waste paper and energy on printing and shipping, e-books use far less resources and have a smaller impact on the environment.

In addition to the environmental benefits, rented e-textbooks can be up to 80% cheaper than traditional books, according to Time Business.

Having textbooks on e-readers is also more convenient for college students to have on campus.

Rather than lugging around several heavy textbooks, they can have their books on their smartphones or laptops, which are never more than a few feet away.

Students have the option of having an inexpensive e-reader dedicated to storing their e-textbooks, which can cost as little as $30.

The best part about e-textbooks is the technology that makes them so user-friendly.

E-book applications such as Books, Kindle and Nook allow students to highlight, bookmark and take notes in their books.

They also have the invaluable “find” function, which is much faster and easier than using an index or skimming whole chapters for keywords.

Although e-textbooks have many benefits, some professors may still not allow them and some students may not have reading devices available to them.

If the university were to implement a policy enforcing digital textbooks, professors would need to adapt to the rule.

More importantly, the school would need to ensure that all students have access to devices, possibly at the expense of the school.

Even considering those limitations, electronic textbooks would be an important step to take in removing a textbooks’ burden on the environment and students’ book bags and bank accounts.


The opinions presented within this page do not represent the views of PantherNOW Editorial Board. These views are separate from editorials and reflect individual perspectives of contributing writers and/or members of the University community.

Photo retrieved from FIU flickr

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