E-readers such as the Kindle offer a cheaper option when it comes to textbooks, but some students still prefer hard copies.
After months of telling her that he didn’t want one, Sam Juliano’s mother still gave him a Kindle for his birthday.
The rising junior from Colgate University gave the e-reader back to her without even trying it.
Many students like Juliano still favor printed books even when faced with the money-saving options e-books offer college-goers.
With students spending an average of $1,168 on textbooks each year, e-readers give students a way to rent or buy their books for much less, yet some still find the technology hard to use for studying purposes.
Jeff Ayers, a 21-year-old student at the University of Vermont, finds e-books useful due to their affordability, but says that it is sometimes difficult to integrate them into the classrooms.
Ayers says it is not easy to cite page numbers in class discussions because e-readers often don’t even have page numbers like hard copies of texts do.
“If you have a book on e-reader, there are still professors that don’t want you to,” Ayers says. “They would prefer you to have the text version.”
Juliano agrees that the interface on most e-readers would have to change if he were to use the technology for studying. He notes that finding a specific page in a Kindle e-book is more difficult and time-consuming than thumbing through a print copy, which can take up valuable study time.
Heather Mulhern, a writing, literature and publishing major at Emerson College, got a Nook — the Barnes & Noble e-reader device — to read inexpensive novels she was assigned in class.
“Sometimes it is easier to search for a particular passage or search themes in an e-book, but it is harder to use sticky notes in them, so it wasn’t necessarily easier to study books on my Nook,” Mulhern says.
Bookboon.com is an online book publishing company that provides free textbooks to students that can then be read on a computer, tablet or e-reader, according to PRWeb, an online news distribution service through Vocus Marketing.
“Our mission is to make it possible for students to go through university without having to spend a single dollar on textbooks, and we are already making a difference for many students,” says Thomas Buus Madsen, COO at Bookboon.com, in a press release.
Larry Walther, a professor at Utah State University, published with Bookboon.com to help his accounting students read the required material for free.
“If they prefer having a hard copy, they can just print it out,” Walther says to PRWeb. “This is one of the ways technology will lower the cost of educational materials.”
The continued debate over the new technology has led to a comprehensive study on The Rise of E-Reading by the Pew Research Center’s Internet & American Life Project, USA TODAY reported.
“The mission of the project is to look at the social impact of technology,” says the Pew project’s director, Lee Rainie.
One in every three people ages 18-29 have read an e-book in the past 12 months, a number they suggest will only increase, according to the mini version of the study.
Emerson College student Emily Abi-Kheirs, 19, is not against the idea of e-readers, but says that she feels the advancing technology will just lead people to pirate books the way many pirate songs and movies online.
“I think it’s terrible for profit,” Abi-Kheirs says.
The Pew Research study also found that e-book users read an average of 24 books a year while those who stick to paper copies read an average of 15 books.
“It’s probably because they are less expensive and because it’s all in the palm of your hand,” Abi-Kheirs says.
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