questionsdoes anyone here have any experience with…


It depends on the text and the subject matter. You did right to buy a paper copy of the physics book; electronic versions of that would be horrible when trying to work out the math. I usually advocate new (not used) books for anything that a student is likely to keep as a reference, and a physics book qualifies on my planet for a keeper.

If there are many formulas, or complicated math, paper is better than electronic. You can make notes on it, and look at multiple pages at once (okay, serially, but you know what I mean). Take the yellow hi-lighter away, though. Those things keep information from soaking in. I still have books like Numerical Analysis, and I'm glad that I do.

Electronic textbooks are great for the softer sciences, since the subject matter requires less pencil and paper work, and more reading and understanding. I would ALWAYS take handwritten notes, however. This has more to do with the way the brain functions than any fear of losing the book.



Certain technical references are ideal as an electronic version. Accounting rules change every three months, and a new set of rules is issued. I don't know whether it's possible to find that as an ebook, but it would surely mean less weight in the backpack if it was.

It's not just convenience, of course. The quality of the ebook (in comparison to the paper book) is important. Sometimes the transference isn't as high in quality as you'd like to see (I've seen this with some recent Galileo works, as an example).

I'll ask around; I'm sure that Claudia (@claudicina) has encountered this.

[Edit] Interesting. Some publishers seem to already understand this. Here's one from Wiley:

Note that ebook is one of the offered formats (it's $109 as opposed to $126).


@shrdlu: Thanks for the input. I have a real fondness for paper over electronic (I just love the feel and the weight of the book in my hands) and I will always purchase new versus used, if I have a choice. I was going to ask "The Graduate" on his input also :)

ps. I don't think the kid knows what a highlighter is


I think it really depends on the subject material and the price difference.
For an intro to psychology class I bought an eBook because it was about 50-75% less than the physical copy. The class was an online class and the tests were open book so having the eBook made class easier. All I had to do was Ctrl+F and looked for the terms that were asked in the question.


What I have encountered when I purchased e-textbooks is that some of the features in the printed version may not be in the electronic version. Things like pictures and charts/graphs may be missing, depending on the publisher. Generally all the important things will be in both versions.

With the proliferation of tablets, it's just easier now to have electronic everything. It costs less and can be shared...erm..."distributed" more easily.


With some of the restrictions on certain ebooks, it does limit your opportunity to resale the book after a semester is over.

If I can buy a used physical book for around the same price as an ebook, I will definitely buy it knowing that I can resale it later if I decide I don't need to keep it as a reference.

Also, some professors are still sticklers about having electronic devices (cell phones, tablets, laptops...) open during lecture. Before buying an electronic book, I would make sure that it would be allowed to be used in the class that it is for.


Thanks for the input everyone.

@sizzlestick: I did not even think about the professor not allowing an electronic device. Thanks for the heads up.


@theoneill555: Two of my professors last semester would not allow his students to have any electronic devices out during lecture, but the book really wasn't required during lecture.

I'm sure that if a book was needed during lecture, and all that the student had was an electronic book, most professors would make an exception.