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Top Benefits of eTextbooks: What College Students Need to Know

Going to school is an exciting time, as it opens you up to a whole host of new, specialized classes. However, each of those classes usually comes with a textbook, and most of the time you’ll have to purchase several of them for each course.

This can add up in weight and value over time. By the end of a four-year degree, it’s not out of the question that you’ll have bought dozens of textbooks.


That’s why eTextbooks are an attractive alternative. Digitally delivered and read, they offer a new way to study that doesn’t come with as much weighty paper. Understanding the benefits that they provide students can help you decide if going digital is something that you want to do.

The Key Benefits of eTextbooks

No matter what subject your textbook is, they are likely to be pricey. In fact, over the last 35 years, the average price of a textbook has risen by 812 percent, an astronomical increase compared to when your parents were in school.

Using eTextbooks is a great way to get around that price point. Since they aren’t actually printed, there are fewer expenses associated with publication. The following are a few reasons why you should always go for a digital version of your class textbook.


One of the most important benefits of an eTextbook is that they are completely weight-free. So long as you have a laptop, a tablet, or even a phone with you, you can access your textbook. This can help save your back as you lug your stuff from class to class across campus.


Another key benefit of choosing a digital copy of a textbook is that they are always available. Online textbooks can be accessed through an internet connection – available everywhere on a college campus – or even downloaded for offline studying and reading.

This means that you won’t ever have to worry about forgetting a textbook in your dorm while you’re on your way to class or cramming for a final in the library.

Another thing to note is that digital textbooks can be read through a text-to-speech reader. This represents accessibility in another sense: not only is it harder to forget your textbook but if you are a student with a visual impairment, you will be better able to study thanks to the digital format.


Another thing that digital textbooks have to offer that physical textbooks do not is interactive features. Digital textbooks can come with video content, games, quizzes, and other ways to keep you engaged.

This can help you learn the content better. It’s also extremely important because not everyone learns in the same way. Since there are more resources associated with eTextbooks, you can choose the method of studying that proves to be the most effective for you.

Something else to be aware of is that you can take and edit notes very easily in an eTextbook. While you can still write in a physical textbook, it’s harder to organize those notes. Highlighting physical pages also reduces its resale value, which can hurt at the end of the semester.

Of course, if you prefer to take notes or interact with regular paper, you can always print pages of your textbook out.

Easy to Navigate and Compile Information

An often overlooked benefit of an eTextbook is that they are simple to navigate. You can search through a digital textbook like you would search through a regular PDF. This lets you find all information related to a keyword, or to seek out specific passages while studying.

This can make it so much simpler for you to make your study notes, saving you time in the dead of exam season. Thanks to digital textbooks, you are able to copy and paste quotes into your review notes, instead of having to write or type them out manually.

No Shipping Time

The digital format of eTextbooks has a practical impact beyond your studying habits. Since they don’t have to be picked, packaged, and shipped, you can get your textbooks straight away.

This is a huge benefit for students that won’t have a permanent address before school starts. It’s also ideal for those who switch classes quite a bit at the beginning of the semester, as they’ll be able to study and catch up with the rest of the class even if they were absent for the first few lectures.

Environmental Benefits

Feeding into the above point, eTextbooks do not have an environmental impact. This is because no trees have to be used for printing, and no fossil fuels go into their shipment. While not the main benefit, it’s definitely something for those who are concerned about the future of the earth’s climate to consider.

Choose the Type of Textbook that Works for Your Learning Style

Choosing eTextbooks can make your life in school much easier, for all of the above reasons. However, it’s not for everyone.

Reading on a screen can be harsher on your eyes, and not everyone is comfortable studying using just their computer. A regular textbook may offer fewer distractions and let you focus on your work. Ultimately, you should choose the textbook that is best suited for your studying and learning style.

To find the cheapest textbooks on the market, check out the Buy Textbooks section of our website. This can help you cut costs, even if you want to stick with physical textbooks over their digital counterparts.

About the Author

Christopher Manns

I was born in the UK, grew up in Canada and have lived in the USA since the 90s. I love my family, water sports, ice hockey, skiing and soccer. When I'm not helping people save money on textbooks, I'm travelling with my wonderful family and playing sports.