E-Textbooks, Is It Worth It
Electronic books have swept the nation with the invention of the iPad, Nook, Kindle, and more, allowing readers to carry multiple books on one device at any given time. Etextbooks are on the rise, allowing college students to get books cheaper, have their backpacks weigh less and be able to write notes with them always handy.
Students today have grown up with technology, ranging from computers to smart phones--always near them and a major part of their lives. So, it's no wonder etextbooks began the popularity they are slowly rising to. However, do students really want their books electronic? Or are textbooks supposed to stay on paper?
Amazon announced recently that their company will begin selling Kindle etextbooks for students, allowing them to annotate and make notes on their electronic textbook device. Students can even buy the book after the rental expires or see their annotations and notes at any point in time. These Amazon textbooks can be rented from as little as 30 days or up to 360 days. Renting that book for just one more day is possible as well, allowing flexibility for students.
While renting etextbooks may seem like a smart decision, you need to buy the device first. The Kindle runs for about $139 and up (3G). The iPad 2 begins at $499. And the Nook runs for $119 to around $249, depending on the edition and type of Wifi.
All are compatible with textbooks except the Nook. The solution for that is the NookStudy, a free program that downloads to your computer. From there, you can download any textbook that Barnes & Noble sells right to your computer. However, if you aren't sure if the electronic version is for you, you can get a 7-day free trial of the book. If you like it, you can buy the book or just go to the old print version.
With technology rising in popularity with college students, most are bringing their computers, iPad or Kindle to class. Students get the chance to keep their books, notes, and anything else class related on their portable device. Is it really worth keeping it all on one device? Or is it better to write notes and keep things organized in 3-ring binders and print textbooks?
First, you have to find out if your professor even allows this type of technology in the classroom. While most do (at least where I attend college), some professors do not, making these etextbooks not helpful.
The second thing you have to decide is how you learn--are you better off seeing everything on paper in your hand or can you learn just as much from your iPad or computer? Once you've figured that out, you can decide if you should get an etextbook or a textbook.
You also have to look at what's cheaper: renting or buying. Unlike textbooks, you cannot return/resale etextbooks. At college bookstores, many allow you to buy a book then return or resell the book for a portion of what you bought the book for. Renting allows you to pay one flat price in the beginning of the semester and be guaranteed that it will be accepted back at the store. In other words, you can guarantee paying a lower price because the bookstore has to take it back. So, you won't be stuck with a book the bookstore magically cannot accept or buy back anymore.
If you buy an etextbook, you won't be able to return it for some sort of profit. Instead, you will be stuck with it. Etextbooks do seem to be a bit cheaper in cost.
American Ethnicity: The Dynamics and Consequences of Discrimination is cheaper when renting the etextbook rather than buying. Looking at three etextbook sites (www.coursesmart.com, www.ecampus.com, and www.barnesandnoble.com), I found which site gave me the best bang for my buck.
CourseSmart offered the rental period of 180 days for $51.25.
Ecampus offered a few rental periods. Depending if you need the book for a semester, quarter or short term, the price will vary. If you buy the book via access code for a rental of 180 days, you pay $61.50.
If you turn to NookStudy, you are looking at a rental price of $46.95. Buying the book would cost you $60.05.
Your best option: depends on how long you need it and if you would ever need the book again.
You also have to look at rental prices in general. It may be cheaper to rent your educational reading as a textbook rather than an etextbook. Or it may be the other way around.
In the end, you must check on a few things to ensure you get the most out of your textbooks:
Do you prefer an actual book in your hands or can you understand it all from the technological device you bought?
· Would you rather buy the book or rent it?
· Is renting cheaper than buying the book? (In most cases, YES).
· Which is cheaper-renting a textbook? Or renting an etextbook?
Once you answer these questions, you can begin your textbook shopping!