There is no denying that achieving a college education can be very expensive, and when full-time students physically attend universities far from home, they can expect hefty bills each year. In addition to the usual expenses, such as books, supplies, a laptop, a printer, and a phone, they can also expect to pay for daily living expenses, including meals, clothes, furniture, transportation, and entertainment. Due to the fluctuating economic conditions of the past several years, building up a nest egg to pay for a college education can be a bit of a challenge. There are several ways students can reduce college expenses. One way is to buy e-books (aka digital books or ebooks) instead of print-version textbooks for university courses.
Thanks to the invention of the tablet and e-readers, students can now invest in these affordable handheld devices to accommodate their many personal and educational needs. One benefit that tablets and e-readers offer is the ability to download e-books, which are offered at a much reduced price compared to new print-version textbooks. Benefits of purchasing e-books are that they download in a matter of minutes, they weigh nothing, and they are always available as long as students carry their tablets. Standard digital features of e-books include hyperlinked references, instant vocabulary definitions by simply clicking on a word, and highlighting capabilities. Users can even print out e-book sections. Most e-books also have search capabilities as well as sharing options to be used with social media tools.
Two of the most common complaints about e-readers and tablets are eye strain and battery life. Significant eye strain is often associated with long-term reading using tablets and e-readers, particularly on devices with bright back lighting. Users can minimize eye strain by stepping away from their e-books each hour to rest their eyes. Some e-readers and tablets have options for changing the back-light brightness to lower settings; adjusting the screen’s brightness can also help users avoid eye strain. Another complaint is the longevity of e-reader and tablet batteries. Depending on the type of device purchased, the user may need to charge the battery regularly to ensure access to the e-books.
Because this is a relatively new option for college students, availability of all university textbooks in the e-book format is somewhat limited. When an e-book version is not available, another option is to purchase the used version of a textbook. Depending on the condition of the used textbook, the university may be willing to purchase the book back at a reduced cost. With new textbooks, the buy-back options are usually quite good, and some universities even offer a pre-paid mailing label to print out and attach to the return package. Students can research university websites to learn more about book buy-back options.