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Text Book Options in College

Text Book Options in College

What is the "norm" nowadays in regards to ebooks? What do most students use? And do professors, over all, seem to have a preference?

My son got his list of books today, and the prices are usually much lower for ebooks. But I've always liked hard copies, and feel like they would be easier to study from. However, he is tech savvy, so he might be fine.

I'm wondering your thoughts and experiences.

Thank You!

re: Text Book Options in College

I thought I'd ask my oldest for her opinion. (if y'all think I write long answers. well..) She wrote out:


In 2 weeks I'll be starting my Senior Year in Engineering College. I've used hard copies for every class where there is an option. Some classes use free online books, as in legit, publisher signed, author hosted, intended to be free. But even those usually have an option to pay like $20 to have it printed and shipped to you. Ebooks allow you to truly look at 3 pages at once - put it on your phone, tablet, and computer and have each open to a different page. You also have quick navigation if it's a decent ebook. But I still prefer hard copy because it's eaiser to follow along in class, and it's easier to flip pages to find what you need when you don't know where it is.

My professors overall tend to prefer hard copy if they have a preference. The profs who demand books brought to class seem to want hard copy. Any professor who has open book tests/quizzes (a LOT of Engineering classes) will require hard copy. I think every Humanities/Arts professor I've had aside from Psych 101 required hard copy, but those also tend to be "read and discuss in class" where they require you to bring a book. That said, in a STEM class that doesn't have those two demands, the professor usually doesn't care as long as you have the book in some form.

Student preferences depend on major and classes. I can't recall seeing anyone outside of ECE/CS regularly using Ebooks where hardcovers exist. The Civil Engineers even have a bonding moment in Junior Year where they all carry around the "Steel Bible" - some sort of manual that looks like it should be a nice big study Bible. ECE Juniors and Seniors come together to hate on the Electronics book - I swear that thing is like 15 pounds and 6 inches thick. However, there are several students in ECE who, through Greek Life, older siblings, and/or to renting, have access to ebooks of everything and only get hardcover if they find out about open book tests.

HTH!!!!
~~~ cbollin's Oldest

re: Text Book Options in College

Cbollin, please thank your daughter for me!!

Her response was so thorough and helpful. I appreciate the first hand experience. And it helped to read the differences depending on majors and classes. My son will be a computer science major.

I'll have him read her response.
Thanks!

re: Text Book Options in College

you're welcome. I hope you hear from many others to hear many ways it is done.

re: Text Book Options in College

(cbollin, I was a Civil Engineering major and remember carrying around the steel manual. In fact, I still have it.)

My sons both generally preferred hard copies to texts when there was a choice. However, when ebooks were allowed on open book tests, they found those to be helpful because of the searchable feature.

It is insane what textbooks cost these days!

re: Text Book Options in College

and rentals can help with reducing the costs.

re: Text Book Options in College

Great point about the rentals. My sons rented hard copies from Amazon several times. Often this was the cheapest alternative.

re: Text Book Options in College

Thanks for sharing your input, Mama Anna!

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