View Full Version : Ebooks as textbooks?

04-01-2015, 11:18 AM
Does anyone use these with success? Ive always had the paper versions of text books, but as I was wishing I had RSO Chem in eformat so I could just print the pages I needed, it occurred to me that there are a lot of textbooks and courses now available in digital format. (We have no logistics issues here - multiple ipads and cloud sharing of books.)

To me, it feels more schooly to have a physical textbook in front of us, but maybe thats just tradition?

How do other people use e-books as textbooks? Anyone try and fail? Anyone try it and now prefer it?

MNdad brought up in the weekly poll thread last year that the layout with diagrams and images is hard to navigate with ebooks. Is that observation typical? With EO Wilsons Life on Earth (free!) that wasnt an issue, and I enjoyed the embedded video links. Some are better than others, Im sure. How is the average book rate, though?

04-01-2015, 12:00 PM
For better or worse.....they use a hell of a lot of them in college these days. Half of Elle's texts have been e-texts. In some cases the technology is changing so fast...it's nice for publishers to be able to edit it as change occurs. Genetics and computer science are great examples of this.

I like my books to be paper. My favorite textbooks are the loose leaf ones that have holes punched for three ring binders....so you can carry around three chapters at a time and not have to break your back with a thousand page text.

Some e-text books are awesome because they have media and animations that help explain processes...built in flash cards...lots of study aides.

But I must admit....I prefer an old fashioned paper text book and a supplemental electronic component.

Elle says I'm old. She quite likes e-text books...thinks they're practical and easier to navigate. Go figure.


04-01-2015, 12:03 PM
I think it is a bit of a generation gap. I prefer paper books because I mark them up, put in visual bookmarks, flip back and forth to compare things. However, I think much of the same technology now exists for e-books. I'll continue to use real books at home and all of my own personal reading comes from the library but I know it's going the way of e-books.

04-01-2015, 12:09 PM
Personally, I prefer real textbooks, but CrazyMom is right--college texts are or can be etexts. However, I have seen one downside of etexts. I was tutoring a college student using an etext. His computer crashed and he had no other resource. Now with the cloud, maybe that's not as much of an issue. I've told my two teens that when they go to away to college and have etexts to make back-ups of them if possible.

04-01-2015, 12:30 PM
Long Live Print!

04-01-2015, 12:36 PM
I don't know. I think it depends on the care with which it's put together. At it's heart, the format is not much more than a web site all bundled up into a single package (i.e. monetized!)

"Life on Earth" is a good example an e-text that is well put together using the iBooks Author app on OS X.

My criticism of e-books in general is that for me (YMMV) I tend to read them the same way I read everything on a screen - telegraphically. There quite a lot of people, though, that seem to have no problem at all reading long-form works from a screen. I just remember studying and writing with multiple books, notebooks etc. all spread out on the desk. How does that work now?

From the medical e-texts that I've worked with - they do seem to be better crafted than many e-books. Some added features that print textbooks don't have.

I still refer to some of my textbooks from college. I can't imagine how that would be if they had been electronic back in the day. Format would have changed, subscription would have lapsed, hard disk would have crashed. I worry about having everything in digital format. There's an emotional connection to print that's missing in e-books.

I'm sure "digital natives" feel differently about all of this; but as others point out, the evanescence is an issue.

04-01-2015, 12:41 PM
I just remember studying and writing with multiple books, notebooks etc. all spread out on the desk. How does that work now?

Multiple monitors/screens connected to one device so that you can have multiple windows open and viewable at the same time. It's what I have at work, and honestly it is rather nice.

But at home I am all about the binding. I'd rather have the book.

04-01-2015, 01:52 PM
I have a bit of trouble with the ebooks because it's harder to engage with them. I think it depends on how much of a physical/kinesthetic learner you are, but I remember material based on where it is in the book - I can physically recall that it was near the front, near the back, in the top/middle/bottom of the page, on the left/right, etc...

When I read books with my e-reader (be in Kindle, on my PC, or on the iPad), I have a hard time finding information again. I can't just flip through and find what I'm looking for. Instead, I have to think of a word or phrase to search for, or try to guess what chapter it was in.

Just yesterday, my daughter was trying to find different things in a novel on the Kindle for a language arts assignment. She had a heck of a time browsing, searching, flipping, and said that she wished we had a paper copy of the novel.

There is probably a technological solution to this coming, but I haven't figured it out yet.

04-01-2015, 03:51 PM
Without a doubt, making physical annotations are helpful. (In HS, I was grateful to a previous bio student who was thoughtful enough to mark out test questions.) But what about for kids, like my 3rd grader? He doesnt write in his textbooks, and for the most part, there is no need for perpetuality (or annotations).

Has anyone had success or failure using with their kids?

04-01-2015, 04:19 PM
For an actual textbook, I'd still much prefer print. For a curriculum book, I'm getting more comfortable with etexts, mainly because they tend to be things that I only refer to during one lesson, or I can print off.


04-01-2015, 05:24 PM
I have a couple of ebooks with video embedded. It is a nice feature. I still prefer print books for textbooks and teacher manuals.

04-01-2015, 07:50 PM
I prefer ebooks.

Print books can be heavy to hold and carry, and they are a pain to store. I don't have room in my house for all the bookshelves I would need if all my books were print. I don't want to have a house that big. Print books need to be shipped while ebooks can be downloaded. Ebooks have links to media and other interesting and useful things.

I don't have trouble finding my way around in an ebook, or highlighting or bookmarking in one. I don't seem to have any trouble focusing on ebook content or learning from ebooks. I'm not sure if that's because I read entirely too much and all of that is on a device, or if it's because I'm usually gaming on a device if I'm not reading. Maybe I've been assimilated........LOL.

04-02-2015, 10:56 AM
I used to prefer print books, but lately I am getting more and more into ebooks overall. I like etexts because I can get them immediately, and print out only what I need. I am starting to prefer ebooks for leisure reading as well. I can enlarge the print when I forget my reading glasses, take notes and highlight without dragging a pen/highlighter around. They don't get chewed up by the puppy (lol), and I can carry so many with me all the time! I'm a big re-reader, so I love having my whole library with me to re-read at my whim.
My older DS has started reading his literature books on his tablet-using the highlighting and note-taking features, and really likes it. As a bonus, the classic stuff is usually free.
There are a few books that I tried via ebook and didn't care for-usually ones with diagrams or tables, but I think in a few years most all of those things will be worked out.

04-03-2015, 02:13 AM
My kids hate reading 'real' books, almost all their books are ebooks. I love buying digital curriculum because I can read ahead on my iPad anywhere and not have to lug around a big text book. Curriculum usually come as pdfs and by looking at the thumbnail view on notability (iPad app) I can 'flip' through them to find something. My younger son (12) highlights his ebooks constantly. But for Biology, I bought a regular textbook (huge heavy brick!) and have been highlighting the sh*t out it.... I also have to take notes as I read to really learn the material. Not sure either of my boys have every taken notes while reading, though I know the older boy (15) seems to have a photographic memory, remembers everything he reads!