Tablets or textbooks?

Editorial Board

This is a question that many college students face these days. There are benefits and pitfalls to both sides. So, which option should students be given? The easy answer is to give students both options and let them decide.

Those that think tablets are the way of the future argue that the cost of textbooks alone makes tablets worth it, while students who prefer textbooks say the ability to physically highlight your textbook is worth the price.

Schools should take a page from the world of journalism and offer both options, print and digital, leaving the choice up to the individual student.

While there are plenty of people that crave the feeling of a book in their hands, there are also many that are welcoming more affordable digital books with open arms. Schools and publishers should be responding to all students needs and start to offer every option. When there are more options for students to choose from, they can choose for themselves what path would make them more individually successful.

It may be difficult for some to retain information that they read on a computer screen, so offering only digital could negatively effect a portion of the student population. There is also the fact that many students can’t afford the outright cost of a tablet, even though digital texts are purported to be more affordable. Not having to lug around a bag full of overweight, hardbound books might sell people on digital texts who otherwise would have never purchased one.

Publishers, college bookstore buyers and administrators at colleges that are responsible for school finance should allow adult age students to make the educated choice. When students buy their own textbooks, they are being held accountable for their own education.  If they choose to go digital they should be able to do so.

The flip side of the coin is equally true. If students want to stick to traditional texts, they should have that option, as well.

The choice to take your class materials into the digital age should be a personal one, not one forced upon students by a school administration that is looking to either save or make money.

There are many alternatives to compensate for the cost of both books and buying a tablet. Re-selling your textbooks can be a great way to make some of the money back.  No matter what, students should be able to choose the educational path that is right for them.