Continuous advances in technology have many people wondering if we’ll hang onto older technologies. For college students, this question focuses on textbooks.

The increasing popularity of tablets has opened new doors for the textbook publishing industry. Cost and efficiency are major components in this textbook battle.

Amazon.com advertises that by buying eTextbooks, students can save up to 80% on rentals and up to 60% on new eTextbooks. Alexandra Kipp, a junior strategic communications major at Elon University agrees.

“I saved more than two-hundred dollars this semester by buying only eTextbooks. And buying an eReader can save [students] a lot of money in the long run.”

The type of tablets available range from the Barnes & Noble Nook to the Amazon Kindle to the Apple iPad. Prices for these devices range from $50 to $500.

For some students however, these money-saving gadgets are not an option. Not all textbooks are available digitally, and not all professors allow such technology in the classroom. Sophomore English major Jamie Rice has experienced this professor resistance firsthand.

“It depends what school you’re in,” Rice said. “The English department doesn’t usually allow technology or offer eTextbooks directly.”

Professors aren’t the only ones showing resistance to digital versions of textbooks.

“I’m more focused looking at print than I am looking at digital,” said junior Creative Writing major Autumn Spriggs. The distractions presented by technology are something most students can relate to. The concept of efficiency is very important in the life of a college student.

“If it’s something I need to annotate, I prefer hard copy. The features of the digital copies can be very poor and almost useless,” explains Rice.

As with most growing technologies, there is clearly some resistance from potential users. Yet there are also clear cost benefits as well, and with such easy access to digital versions of textbooks, universities across the country may very well start seeing the growth of this technology.


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