With the increasing predominance of portable digital media, electronic textbooks (E-Books) once an obscure offering only at select distance learning colleges, are now heralded as the future of textbooks for their portability, convenience, and affordability. Distance learning institutions, particularly, have embraced the use of E-Books as a replacement for traditional textbooks. For the distance learning student, E-Books have many advantages over traditional textbooks.
- E-books are more affordable than traditional textbooks. Some estimates indicate that by including the price of E-Book rental with the course price, distance learning institutions can save up to 60% on the price of their textbooks. With the price of textbooks averaging $500 or more per semester at some colleges and universities throughout the United States, the significant cost-savings that E-Books can provide makes textbooks more accessible and affordable to students.
- E-Book links can be included within the class website. This allows students at online learning institutions to easily see and access their required reading for class, eliminating confusion and missed readings. Many universities, like the University of Phoenix, link through the course webpage to required readings in the E-Book collection.
- Some colleges and universities are embracing the practice of including the price of a E-Book rental in the course price , via a course materials fee. Through including the price of the book in the course materials fee, the university gets a better rate on the E-Books and ensures that all students have access to the necessary materials.
- E-books allow students to access their textbooks at nearly any time, via the internet or downloading to a tablet or laptop. This allows students at distance learning colleges and universities to study as their schedule allows without the need to carry multiple textbooks. Students are increasingly able to access materials at their convenience, from their home or other location. This gives students more time to study and more ability to complete required readings.
- A distance learning college or university with an E-Book library provides students with increased access to materials for research, reports, or general knowledge. Through providing an E-Book library, a distance learning college is able to ensure that students have all the materials they need to get the most out of their degree, even without access to traditional college libraries.
- E-Book features make learning convenient. Many E-Books are able to be searched, making it easy to pinpoint specific material in a time effective manner. E-Books today are also able to be highlighted and bookmarked, for ease of accessing relevant information. Some E-Books include dictionary features, which allow students to look up the meanings of unfamiliar words with a simple touch.
- E-Books allow instant access to digital content in a way traditional textbooks cannot duplicate. Links to media files, webpages, and a multitude of other resources existing on the Internet can be incorporated into an E-Book through an easy link, allowing students instant access to expanded content via the Internet. This allows professors to expand course discussions and content to include information available on the Internet.
Through the inclusion of E-Books as part of distance learning, students are given access to the most modern, up-to-date textbook format in the most affordable method possible.