eTextbooks vs. Print Textbooks

Digitization has become inevitable in today’s era. It isn’t uncommon to find college students scrolling through their phones and tablets rather than flipping through textbook pages. 

With online learning becoming the mainstream, students learn digitally nowadays. Some students even seek help in completing assignments online. Everyone wants to master the art of time management and delegation.

To cater to the needs of modern students, giant publishing houses are also prioritizing the production of digital books over traditional textbooks. While eTextbooks are growing in popularity, traditional books have their own set of admirers. But which among the two is better for students? Read on to find out.


eBooks are digital copies of traditional books. They work on electronic devices and can be downloaded or accessed with an active Internet connection. Though eTextbooks are the go-to resources for many students, they have their own pros and cons. 


Easy Access

Unlike print books, digital ones are always available at your fingertips. All you need is a mobile device to access them, which most students already own. A simple search gives access to hundreds of items that can be downloaded and used almost instantly—no more searching for hours at the bookstore or waiting for your textbook to be shipped. 

The ease is quite similar to how you ask an expert to write my essay for me and get your assignments done effortlessly. Thus, many students take advantage of this option.


Most eBooks cost half that of their print counterparts. Because of no printing and shipping costs, they are quite affordable for college students when compared to traditional textbooks. Since eBooks have a one-time cost of creating or acquiring the file, most sellers also offer a lucrative discount. 

No Need for Maintenance

eTextbooks aren’t subject to the same wear and tear as traditional books. You don’t need to worry about damaging the cover or tearing a page. No matter how much usage an eBook undergoes, it looks just like new. 

With modern device security and cloud storage, your eBooks are safe even if the device gets damaged. Sellers like Amazon store the digital books in your account, which can be accessed from another device in case your original device doesn’t work anymore. 


Device Requirements

While a single device is enough to access most eBooks, the device itself is quite expensive. Mobile phones and laptops can open digital books but aren’t suitable for prolonged reading. They also have certain limitations like screen flickering and display problems in sunlight. 

Specific devices called eBook readers are available to address these problems. But not everyone is willing to spend a fortune on a device only meant for reading books. 


Most students read eBooks on their phone, which is packed with distractions. Opening social media apps or playing a game looks quite tempting, especially when you are trying to study. Many youngsters also face cell phone addiction, and eBook usage is a whole new challenge for them. 

Printed Textbooks

Despite the availability of ebooks, 92% of U. S. students still prefer their textbooks in print. In countries like Germany and Japan, the majority of students chose traditional books as well. Avid readers also find a sense of satisfaction in reading print versions. Apart from that, traditional textbooks have other pros and cons described below.


Being Easy on the Eye

Electronic devices cause eye fatigue and symptoms like redness, watery eyes, blurred vision, and headache. If you spend most of your day looking at other screens for work or academic purposes, eBooks will cause you more harm than good. 

But traditional textbooks are easy on the eye and don’t cause any eye strain or headache. With adequate lighting, you can enjoy reading print editions for as long as you want. 

Better Comprehension

Print books allow students to physically engage with their reading materials. This, in turn, increases their ability to understand the text. For example, one study found that students had better comprehension with physical books as compared to eBooks when reading materials more than one page long. 

The Opportunity to Resell

Print books have a resale value. Most eBook sellers restrict the customer from reselling the item. But reselling physical books is permitted by law and is covered by the “First Sale Doctrine.” It is common for students to sell their textbooks for around half the original cost, which actually makes print books cheaper in the long run. 



Traditional books require storage space in your bag or on the bookshelf. They are heavy and difficult to carry everywhere. If you need multiple books for reference, transporting them itself would be a task. Heavy school bags are also a constant problem, and students suffer from physical symptoms like backaches while carrying them. 

Limited Availability

Often, libraries and universities have limited copies of textbooks in-store. When compared to the number of students using these books, the copies don’t suffice. Students have to wait for their turn or buy books out of their pocket, which can be costly. If they can afford to buy the books, they have to order them and wait for shipping. Certain old books may just not be available anymore. 


While both eTextbooks and print textbooks have their pros and cons, choosing the better one ultimately depends upon you. If you want the satisfaction of reading a physical book and want to keep eye strain or other health problems at bay, then print books are the best. But if you value accessibility and availability, then eTextbooks are the way to go.