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Question of the Day: Digital Textbooks

Should schools issue Kindles or iPads instead of textbooks?

Portable electronic reading devices and ultra-compact computers like the Kindle and the iPad would alleviate the physical strain of 30-pound backpacks and allow access to a larger library of digital books at a lower cost than their physical counterparts.

On the other hand, the devices cost more upfront and are prone to damage, theft, and misuse.

Some schools have already begun the transition from physical to digital textbooks. Do you think this is the wave of the future? What are the pros and cons? Tell us in the comments.

Andrew B. Herzman September 03, 2011 at 02:01 PM
As a college student, I have started using the kindle for my school books. Not only is it lighter to carry around one device instead of several heavy books, it is also easier to "read". By that, I mean there is an option for the kindle to read out loud for you. Not only that, you can also read the books you buy on your smartphone or computer, so if I need to copy something from the book to my report, it's just a copy and paste instead of typing it all out. I don't think they should get rid of books altogether, though. Many people lost their power due to Irene and read books for entertainment. No power, no Kindle. I heard a story about Amazon selling a book by accident that they didn't have the rights to. In that case, they were able to delete the book from everybody's Kindle and give them a refund. That's like a store taking back a book you bought off your bookshelf! Also, books are now being edited, like some words were changed in Mark Twain's books. If you have the original book, you can read it the way it was originally written, it can't be changed. With electronic books, it can be changed instantly, weather you like the original version or not. That's a slippery slope that can ultimatly lead to total control of what you read.
dotsiem September 03, 2011 at 04:00 PM
How do you know if your college books are available for Kindle. My daughter is a Freshman at Molloy and we are renting her books (had to buy a few workbooks) and it is over $750 this semester. I was pondering whether to buy an Kindle or BookNook. Can you browse the selection if you don't have an E-reader? I love Hard Copy books - I also love holding a magazine and reading it. I don't like the thought of doing away from books and magazines. But I can see where having a Kindle is convienent at times. Both can co-exist in our lives.
Rebecka Schumann September 03, 2011 at 04:14 PM
Dotsiem- I don't have an e-reader, but I have noticed that on Amazon.com you can check if a book is available in that format. If you don't want to get an e-reader, I find that renting textbooks on websites like textbooksrus.com saves a large amount of money.
dotsiem September 03, 2011 at 04:26 PM
Thanks for the feedback. I will look into it - love Amazon.com. I also rented from BookRenter.com and found them excellent to use. I chose to rent the books from Molloy College because they gave my daughter a $60k scholarship plus other grants that made it practical to go to the college. So we thought it was a good idea to rent from them as sort of a thank you. I cannot say enough about the good people at Molloy.
Andrew B. Herzman September 03, 2011 at 04:54 PM
Just a note about Amazon: They deleted my bad review of a book by Larry Wingett, yet let the author himself make a great review about his own book! Scam!

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