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Making textbook decisions | The Triangle

Making textbook decisions

Photograph courtesy of Morningbirdphoto at Pixabay

Electronic or hardcopy? This is sometimes a difficult question for college students to answer.

It always comes at the start of each quarter when we first look at the list of books that we need for classes. You’re simply going over the list when you see that one textbook that is $200, and you ask yourself if it’s really necessary. Will you actually use it at all? Will it improve your learning in the course significantly? These questions need to be considered before making any purchases.

It’s no secret that textbooks are totally optional for many classes, and for others they are required. However, whether or not a textbook is required or optional doesn’t determine its usefulness.

How useful it will be is dependent on the student, professor and class. While this is the case, a lot of students will choose to buy the textbooks even if they are optional, but most textbooks are required to do work, such as weekly readings of chapters in preparation for lectures.

Thanks to the technology-filled time that we live in, once we accept the fact that we are going to have to fork out some money for textbooks, we have to decide if we want a hard copy or an electronic one. This can be a bit of a difficult decision to make because there are pros and cons to each version.

With the electronic copy, you get the advantage of accessibility. For example, when you purchase an e-book from Amazon, you’re able to access it through multiple devices, such as computers, laptops, tablets and phones. There is a big advantage to having this level of accessibility because if, for instance, you have a laptop that goes bad, you’ll still be able to access the book on your phone or some other device. With this accessibility also comes ability to easily find specific words and sentences in the book with a search function.

While e-books do have their own advantages, those that come with having a hard copy of a textbook are better.

When comparing the accessibility that comes with a hard copy to that of an e-book, the one major advantage that a hard copy has is consistency. While e-books can be accessed via multiple devices, all of the devices need some source of power to be used. Computers need to be plugged in, and phones, laptops and tablets need to be charged. A book is a book — it doesn’t need to be plugged in or charged for a person to be able to read each page. It’s also much easier to take notes and highlight in a hard copy than it is with an electronic version.

Overall, whether you should go for a hard copy or electronic version of a textbook is ultimately up to your own personal preferences. Both versions of the textbook have their ups and downs, and are equally viable, otherwise they wouldn’t be so popular.

The main concern to take into consideration though, is which version is cheaper, because as college students, price is the one thing we always worry about when it comes to purchasing textbooks.