Pros and cons to e-book use

August 15, 2014 Editorials Print Print
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With the rise of tablets like Kindle, college students can learn more efficiently and not be weighed down by several textbooks. Having this kind of technology can benefit students in numerous ways but this convenience also has flaws.

“As of 2012, only 30 percent of textbook titles are available electronically,” according to tablets-textbooks.procon.org. Many different companies manufacture tablets and most contract with one specific e-book seller. This means “some textbooks may not be sold across all tablets.”

With a lack of textbooks available electronically, students who would rather rely on tablets may be out of luck.

People who read digital text also may comprehend the content slower than when reading print text which may hinder a student’s reading competency in the classroom or when doing homework.

“The brain interprets printed and digital text in different ways, and people generally read digital text 20-30% slower than print,” according to Princeton.edu’s Kate Garland.

In addition, with tablets, students have the worry of their e-book screen randomly freezing or the possibility of being hacked.

College students looking for entertaining novels on their reading tablets also may be out of luck financially. “A survey of best-selling fiction and non-fiction sold by online retailer Amazon has found that in more than a third of cases, e-books are priced higher than the same books in hardcover,” according to dailymail.co.uk.

E-books being priced higher than the actual hardcover book makes absolutely no sense.

It takes less effort and material to create an e-book. Is the extra price of convenience worth it?

Now, in spite of these flaws, there are also many pros to having an e-book tablet.

Students who are taking many classes may require many books, which can become a burden when roaming the campus. A lightweight tablet with only 8 gigabytes can hold thousands of books, according to www.tecca.com.

This would allow students access to a plethora of information that would regularly weigh several pounds in books, but weigh almost nothing on a tablet.

Another pro is that tablets contain many technological features that cannot be found in print textbooks, such as “the ability to highlight and edit text and write notes without ruining a textbook for the next user, … a search function, a backlighting option to read in low light, and a built-in dictionary,” according to tablets-textbooks.procon.org.

Though there are many pros and many cons to e-book tablets, I can only see e-book formats becoming more involved in the future of education.

Eventually, more e-books will become available on all e-book tablets, assuming the prices will be more regulated within time. Until then, students can buy a Kindle for the low price of $69 on amazon.com for all of their e-book reading purposes.

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