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Issues to Take Into Account before Making a Text Purchase

Online and electronic textbooks for college courses are becoming more common every year. While these do serve to satisfy some of the demands of 21st Century learners, it remains true that traditional paperbacks and hardbacks possess some strong advantages over e-texts.

Issues to Take Into Account before Making a Text Purchase

Author is a freelance copywriter. For more information about Renting textbooks, please visit http://www.textbooksrus.com/.

Online and electronic textbooks for college courses are becoming more common every year. While these do serve to satisfy some of the demands of 21st Century learners, it remains true that traditional paperbacks and hardbacks possess some strong advantages over e-texts. Students who are serious about learning as much as possible and achieving high grades would be wise to take these issues into account when making a text purchasing decision.

Compatibility

Electronic texts by their very nature raise compatibility issues. Users must be certain to purchase books in the correct format and version for their computer operating system and reader software. Even when great care is taken, Digital Rights Management (DRM) can interfere with a student’s ability to use the text he or she has legitimately purchased. A commonly reported problem, for example, concerns software updates. A student whose e-text was working well yesterday may find that it is incompatible with an upgraded version of reader software. This is more than annoying and inconvenient. It can mean that a vital textbook is unavailable at key times during the semester. Instead of studying, the student will be on the phone to customer service. Students who purchase or rent traditional textbooks will not have these problems.

Personalization

Many students benefit by the ability to write in their textbooks, making notations in the margins, drawing arrows to connect related information, and jotting down things they do not yet fully understand. Because of the nature of paper and pencil, these notations will be permanent unless the user makes a deliberate effort to erase them.

This is not the case with electronic books. Some e-reader programs do not allow annotations at all. Others include some tools to provide these functions, but due to software failures, user-created marks may not be there the next time the program is opened. Even when no malfunctions occur, some students may find that electronic annotations are less satisfying than the pen-based kind. There is something inherently powerful about underlining a passage word by word while reading it. Clicking and dragging to make the mark does not have the same effect. Particularly for visual learners, paper-based textbooks are the more reasonable option.

Shared Study

Lastly, classmates can borrow a traditional textbook far more readily than your e-text. Lending a book means only handing it over. Lending an e-text means giving up a computer or e-reader for an extended time. Most students would be reluctant to do this, particularly if it also requires giving a classmate access passwords.

For all these reasons, book rental or purchase is preferable to the use of electronic texts.

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