Tools of Modern Learning: E-books
Unless you’ve been hiding under a rock for the last decade, you’ve probably noticed education news about the surge of popularity that e-books have enjoyed. With the introduction of great reading devices like the Kindle, e-books have gone from a novelty to an extremely cheap, easy and viable way of distributing literature and informative writing in just a matter of years. While traditional hardcover and paperback books are still very firmly at the top, e-books are quickly gaining speed, and could be poised to take over the industry in the next decade or so. Higher education has been a huge reason for this shift, as more and more instructors and professors are realizing the benefits of digital books.
A Light Read
For those attending university, this has the great bonus of not having to lug around dozens of heavy textbooks, and an extremely reduced price in your purchasing your course reading! Traditionally, if you’re enrolled in a degree, you could be expected to buy and carry around anywhere between four to ten books per semester! Being able to purchase e-books and store them all on one lightweight device is a much lighter and more sensible option than lugging around a 60lb backpack full of giant textbooks!
One of the main drawbacks of physical textbooks is that with the rapid pace with which topics like biology, psychology, engineering or other disciplines are evolving, these textbooks need revisions every year. This results in high manufacturing costs, and extensive rewrites, which mean that students either have to choose between getting an old, outdated edition or paying top dollar for a new one. It also costs a lot for university book stores to re-stock with new editions every year.
The upside of e-books is that instead of going through the long and expensive process of re-writing whole sections and re-publishing the book in another edition, updates can be made to the e-book. This means that instead of having to purchase an entirely new textbook, students, faculty and bookstores can just purchase the newest iteration of the book to download, or in some cases just download the updates for free. Many educational e-books offer free updates for life with the purchase of e-books, and offer many great free educational articles and articles featuring college news.
Although e-books are extremely easy to use, cheap, and adaptable, many people still prefer the look and feel of physical books. There are many who swear by the joys of leafing through a used paperback purchased at a bookstore, and don’t like reading words off of a screen. Another big downside to e-books is that it’s possible to illegally download many works of literature or instructional books, meaning that companies and authors can lose a lot of money in revenue. Since it’s so easy to upload and share e-books, this has become an increasingly large problem.
While e-books have gained a lot of steam in the last few years and show no sign of slowing down, there are still some people who prefer to stick to traditional hard copies, and that’s fine. What’s undeniable, though, is that e-books have the potential to streamline and revolutionize educational reading and teaching.