Students are fed up with the price of textbooks, and educators, textbook publishers, and third-party companies have taken notice of and adapted to this mood. Consequently, textbooks’ prices, availability, and formatting are changing with each passing day, and students have more ways to save cash on course-required resources than they have at any other point in history. What’s more is that there’s no telling how many additional improvements and positive changes the coming months and years will bring to college books and the way that students access them.
Specifically, the educational landscape appears to be ready to phase in digital college books. The benefits and advantages of doing so, for publishers and especially for students, are considerable.
To emphasize this point and bring about more fundamental change to and awareness of the way that students buy textbooks, let’s take a look at some of the perks and positives associated with digital college books!
Availability is one of the biggest and most formidable constraints on the current textbook marketplace.
New college books—and even new editions of existing college books—are constantly being added to curriculums, and when production can’t keep up with the demand that’s produced by these required works, prices—and inconvenience—increase.
Digital college books will make this issue a problem of the past. When digital college books become prevalent, new college materials can be marketed and sold via the internet, in the form of simple file downloads; physical production will no longer inhibit students’ ability to secure their class materials. Students will benefit from lower prices as a result of lessened demand, and publishers will be able to more quickly sell new books and editions. As an added bonus, publishers can also pass some of their savings (on printing, shipping, etc.) onto students.
An estimated 95 percent of Americans own a mobile phone of some kind; in colleges, where most attendees are between the ages of 18 and 22, the percentage of cell phone ownership is closer to 100 percent. Moreover, many of these students possess laptops, tablets, and/or other mobile devices.
And all of these devices can be used to access digital textbook content.
Instead of lugging a huge stack of college books around campus and the dorm, students would have the opportunity to carry a limitless supply of information in their pockets. (More specifically, students currently have this opportunity in a technical sense, but widespread utilization will come with the rise of digital college books.)
As if this prospect wasn’t impressive enough in its own right, students will also be able to search for textbook terms, which will make studying and learning much, much simpler and more straightforward. (College graduates can vouch for just how frustrating it can be to hunt a term or idea down in a traditional textbook!)
Other Cost-Reduction Opportunities
Students will also benefit from other cost-reduction opportunities that come with digital college books. Lessened printing and production costs have already been mentioned, but some companies are currently exploring the possibility of featuring advertisements in digital books—and allowing readers to save money by watching/seeing these ads. Especially because college students spend so many hours reading required materials, there’s no telling how much this system would reduce pricing.
Other companies yet are presently testing “modifiable” college books—that is, books that feature expert advice and writing, but that weren’t rigorously proofread and edited by personal (and expensive) teams. The idea behind these books is that savings will allow the company at-hand to charge less, and student readers can point out and fix any minor errors that they find. These changes will then be made to the core textbook, and they will be featured in future editions.
College students don’t often think about it, but teaching a course can be demanding. Arranging lesson plans, conducting lessons, grading assignments, and grappling with the unexpected occurrences that so commonly plague college campuses is, in a word, exhausting. Digital college books will make the process a little bit easier, and as professors will need to be on board for the switch to digital to take place, this point is significant.
Students forgetting their books, students needing to share books, students chatting while they’re sharing books—these and other problems will be solved by the digital textbook. Students benefit, but professors will also enjoy perks from the move to digital, and their teaching duties will be less taxing as a result.
The Opportunity to Learn Year-Round
Last but certainly not least, digital books will provide students with a way to learn throughout the year—not just when classes are in session and, more specifically, when students are at home.
Summer break is a great time to get some college reading in, but students—even those who buy used textbooks from reputable online companies—probably won’t have bought all the materials that they need for the school year. Furthermore, those who have done so cannot possibly carry and access these resources while away from home.
With digital college books, downtime during car rides, before movies, in restaurants—well, downtime just about everywhere can be used to learn. In the long run, these small bits of learning and effort will produce large-scale benefits, for students. All a year’s required reading can be bought and downloaded in a matter of minutes.
Hopefully this information made clear why education is ready to usher in an era of digital college books. This era will redefine the ways that students rent and buy textbooks, learn, and study. It’s difficult to argue against saved money and enhanced convenience.
Thanks for reading, and here’s to all the positives associated with digital college books!