Digital textbooks modernize the way we learn

In Opinion

The world is at our fingertips.

As cliche as that might sound, one must admit that long gone are the days of going to the library and digging through shelves for research and information.

It is amazing how far communication has come. What started out as verbal folklore, inscribed along cave walls, eventually became written words published on paper which quickly emerged to being circulated on the World Wide Web.

As more traditional book content goes digital and media technology prevails, everything is becoming increasingly accessible.

Literature becoming more obtainable to the masses is a positive progression and although there is still a demand for physical books, one thing there is no denying is e-books are both useful and convenient, especially in our fast-paced society that is transforming our generation into one that spends more time in front of the screen than ever before.

According to, in an article titled “2010 Book and E-Book Sales Data for the United States” by John Soares, e-book sales figures continue to break records with 162.4 percent gains for 2010. It is the ninth year of tracking e-book sales and they increase significantly on an annual basis.

“As more formats have evolved and are served by the publishing community, consumers have more choices,” said Soares. “These strong sales numbers reflect the efforts of publishers and the response of book audiences.”

Last semester I purchased an e-book. I had instant access to information. I did not have to pay nor wait for shipping and handling. The e-book consisted of a combination of text, images, audio and videos — something that I for one have never seen a printed book capable of doing.

It did not consume shelf space, it had an easy “keyword search” function, provided links for simple access to information and related websites, and it also provided me with the option of translating “text to speech,” which becomes beneficial when your eyes start hurting, words start to blur and the last thing you want to do is read 50 more pages.

Being my first experience with an e-book, I immediately fell in love. It made challenging material enjoyable and it incorporated many different techniques while presenting exercises that would otherwise be boring and dreadful to read.

If there were sections in the book I wished to focus on and wanted to physically have to highlight and mark up, I simply printed the pages. You have the option of printing the whole book if you wish.

E-books are just one of the many ways traditional forms of communication are flourishing. It may never replace printed books, but today we are exposed to tech-savvy equipment that has for the most part shaped the way we work, read and receive our information.

According to, in an article titled “Digital Textbooks Scroll Schools into New Era” by Amy Hetzner, “Digital textbooks not only provide the print text that generations of students and teachers have relied on, they also open the possibilities of more audio, visual and interactive presentations of information.”

Hetzner’s article also points out that e-books provide students with the preparation they need for a technology-filled future.

Far more than standard textbooks, digital books provide a new medium of innovative ways to interact and learn. They are engaging, enhance interactive learning, revamp traditional reading standards and have the potential to do things that old-fashioned textbooks can’t. Bringing texts onto an electronic platform renders an opportunity to make the book as collective as the classroom.

When it comes to reading, I consider our generation fortunate because the written word has become more accessible and innovative than ever before.

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One commentOn Digital textbooks modernize the way we learn

  • Is digital textbooks are way to go ? At most time digital textbooks are considered cheap when in fact they are expensive. eBooks cannot be sold back, uses electricity and not easy to highlight like a traditional book.
    Compare a textbook price at Amazon and Coursesmart or Cengagelearning eBooks and you will we the pricing. Typically a $100 hardcover book on Amazon is priced at $50 or at an eBook store. The hardcover can be sold back at half or amazon market places or to students directly and can typically get at least $70, whereby the actual book cost was only $30.

    Ryan Colls
    Oklahoma State University

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