E-books Prove to be a Disappointment

Some students would prefer good old-fashioned textbooks. Photo Credit / Kelly Dildine
Some students would prefer good old-fashioned textbooks. Photo Credit / Kelly Dildine

Some students would prefer good old-fashioned textbooks.
Photo Credit / Kelly Dildine


SC Staff Writer

As college students, everyone knows that after tuition, housing, and food, textbooks are the next biggest expenditure on the list.

To save money, some students opt to go for used books, or they choose to rent them for the semester, but now Barnes and Nobles bookstore offers a third option—renting textbooks online at half of the price!

If you buy the online book in-store, you get a card with a serial number on it.

If you buy the textbooks online, you also get a serial number, but it’s sent in an email.  The process gets extremely confusing from there.

In the email you get a couple different links.  One of them prompts you download the Nook app, which you don’t even use.

The other link leads you to sign up with CourseSmart.com, which acts as your electronic bookshelf.

The upside to using this website, is that you can access your book from any computer. You can also use a myriad of features including highlighting, notations, and a search function.  You can also choose to “check-out” your textbook so you can use it offline.

The downside is that if you check-out your book with one computer, you won’t be able to access it on another until you check your book in from the same machine.

Once you are signed up with CourseSmart.com, you can access your book and even print out pages.

It sounds like a good deal, but there is a major downside.  Printing pages is usually as simple as pressing print.

However, this isn’t the case when you rent a textbook online.  You are only allowed to print up to ten pages at a time, so if your chapter is the usual 20 pages, you have to print twice.

This would be simple if when you try to print, it prints the right pages.

This doesn’t always happen, though.  For example, if you try to print the first half of the chapter, when you enter print preview, it will show a whole other section.  Also, you have to wait until the pages download.

Another big negative aspect of the online textbook is that the textbook has a certain number of pages, and you could only print one of each page.

If you are forced to print out another copy because the website mixed up the pages in the first place, it counts as another page that you have printed.

When you reach that magic number, you cannot print anymore.  For those who need to bring their textbooks to class, they are out of luck.

Though buying online textbooks seems like a good idea, it is more trouble than it is worth.  It is easier to rent the physical textbook.

Cheaper textbooks can be found online if you don’t want to shell out the big bucks in Barnes and Nobles.

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