eTextbooks: New Technology Makes College Easier

This guest post is by Michael Shwartz.

The electronic revolution has just gotten even more exciting and cost effective.

One of the major expenses of learning has been dramatically improved with eTextbooks – digital textbooks on iPad that can be rented for the duration of a semester or a full year. Whether you are a student, the parent of a student, or simply an employee who needs to learn something new, reading textbooks on iPad will radically reduce the price of education.

Gone are the harrowing trips to the student bookstore to purchase prohibitively expensive, nearly impossible-to-carry stacks of new or used textbooks that require two people to drag them back to the dorm. You no longer have to send your daughter or son to college with the little red wagon they played with as children just to get their books to their room, and then leave them burdened with selling those used books back for considerably less money at the end of the semester.

You invest in an e-device that will last for years, weighs a few ounces, and can be taken literally anywhere; and when the school and rental term is up you’re done.

There are a few great ways to use eTextbook technology. You can study and read your book online by downloading an app using your iPad, iPhone, iPod Touch, computer, or even a mobile device using Android technology. Or, you may read offline using select devices and browsers when it’s not possible to connect to the Internet. In addition, you can directly print out any page that you require to keep as hard copy. Textbooks on iPad appear at high resolution, even those expensive, gorgeously illustrated art history or medical books. They’re easy to read, they’re essentially weightless, and their value doesn’t decrease with use. You can even download free trials of most books.

The process is fluid and simple. You determine which course materials you need, and then search for them from an excellent eTextbook or eResource website using the title or ISBN number for each book. Add them to your Cart and then check out. To access your various course materials, just go to the website’s Bookshelf and begin reading anytime you wish. The best eTextbook sites also issue redemption codes for eTextbooks that can be acquired at a bookseller or from your campus bookstore. Enter the code online and the book is yours for the semester or the full year.

What can you save with digital textbooks on iPad? Here’s some ballpark figures from late 2012. If you’re taking accounting and you need Fundamentals of Advanced Accounting, the semester rental will cost you $25; if you buy the book it would be $222, saving you $197.

If you’re an engineering student and you need the 544 page, Engineering Psychology and Human Performance, the price is $193. The digital rental is only $78, saving you $115 for the semester.

Are you a medical student? Essential Neonatal Medicine is $65 to purchase and only $38.95 for the entire school year. Dump that crippling backpack – the future is here.

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