Recent articles tout the evergreen popularity of traditional books. Studies show an increase in traditional book sales while digital textbook sales have decreased. However, these articles do not reflect the growing demand for digital textbooks (eTexts).
Unlike novels or biographies, traditional textbooks are unwieldy. Besides being at least twice the size of a hefty novel like War and Peace, they weigh considerably more. In fact, carrying a heavy backpack can cause back trouble. One simple way to decrease the weight of a backpack is to reduce the number of items in it, namely, textbooks.
Not only are eTexts lighter, they have a myriad of other features that learners, instructors, and educational organizations can benefit from.
Major Advantages of eTexts
- Pop-up glossary saves learners time from looking up unknown words
- Links to explanatory videos and animated graphs support audio and visual learners
- Complete audio of eText supports auditory learners and meets federally mandated accommodations
- Online activities help kinesthetic learners understand concepts and processes
- eTexts offer resources for struggling readers, such as fill-able graphic organizers
- Many include hyperlinks to additional learning resources, providing challenging opportunities for advanced learners
- Instant quizzes provide feedback for learners and instructors and allow them to analyze data for areas of weakness
- Instructors can reteach or the eText can automatically supply additional learning material for mastery
- The digital note-taking ability lets learners highlight text and write questions or ideas without permanent damage
- Lower cost than traditional books, so accessible to more learners, school districts, and libraries
- Material can be updated quickly to reflect new discoveries, benefiting learners and allowing publishers to remain reliable sources of current information
- eTexts can be linked to online learning management systems, allowing for direct discussions about the content and adding value for instructors and learners
- Instructors can monitor who logs in to read, which allows them to identify any reluctant readers and offer assistance
eText publishers will continue to find new ways to accommodate learners, instructors, and educational organizations. eTexts can be designed to easily integrate new tools, reducing any disruption to curriculum design. Since eTexts streamline a multitude of tools all aimed to enhance learning intuitively, perhaps the “e” in eText should stand for “elegant” instead of “electronic.”