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E-textbooks grow in prominence among mixed reviews

Students now have the option of buying cheap, online textbooks instead of spending hundreds of dollars on their hardcover counterparts.

“E-books still only take up a small percentage of book sales, but the rate of use is definitely increasing,” said bookstore manager Paul Kroenke. “Between this year and last year, the number of e-books bought by students has increased significantly. Last year we only sold four units for the entire year, and we sold many, many more this year.”

E-books have only been used at Bradley for four years, so they haven’t completely caught on yet, Kroenke said.

“E-books have only been here for a little while, so it’s not surprising that the rate of use is currently low,” he said. “The program is still really new, so we don’t know exactly where it will go from here.”

Kroenke said he has not received very much feedback on the e-books so far.

“I’ve asked students and professors to let me know what they think about the e-books when they purchase them, but I usually don’t hear back,” he said. “Some professors have told me they don’t want digitalized books to be used for their classrooms, but that’s about it. Using e-books will really just come down to student and professor preference in the end. They don’t seem to be more popular in any one major as compared to another.”

Communications professor Ali Zohoori has used e-books in his classes and is still unsure if he is going to continue to use them on a regular basis.

“The main reason for using the e-book was to help students save money,” he said. “E-books are only about one-third of the hard copy price.”

Although the price is lower than normal textbook prices upfront, the price quickly jumps if students want any additional resources, Zohoori said

“If students wanted to have access to extra features and related resources, they had to buy a package which would double the price,” he said. “My students’ reactions to using the e-book were mixed, as was mine.”

Though his first experience using e-books wasn’t amazing, Zohoori is considering trying them again since publishers have made a few changes.

“Publishers have addressed some of the shortcomings, and the latest versions allow students to highlight text, create flash cards, deep link concepts and more,” he said. “I am considering trying it again next fall and then assessing my students’ reactions before making a final decision.”

Sophomore electronic media major Sara Olson said she didn’t like using an e-book instead of a hardcover book for her COM 101 class.

“I personally didn’t like the e-book,” she said. “I felt it created more of a hassle and also more distraction. Once you’re sitting on the computer to read, there are a lot of distractions including Facebook and checking email. I prefer to use hardcover books over using e-books.”

Sophomore journalism major Deborah Oldenkamp said she agreed.

“I like to try and separate my study time from my computer time, because like most college students I tend to be on Facebook when at my computer,” she said. “Being on my laptop to study made it difficult to focus 100 percent of the time, and all the reading on the computer screen ended up giving me a headache pretty much every time I had to read. I guess I’m old fashioned, but I would rather use a regular textbook any day.”

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