Students Weigh E-Books vs. Print Books

     Some people swipe a screen, others flip a page. Most classes at Fenwick require purchasing a textbook, and students have the option to choose an online or physical textbook. This choice will follow with them throughout their entire school year. Students may find more advantages through one resource than the other.

     Purchasing physical textbooks for classes may not be an option for students. Junior Matt Carmody observes, “E-books are much easier to carry around and allow students to do more with their textbooks. They are also environmentally friendly and cheaper than physical textbooks.” Unless someone buys multiple new electronic devices every year, producing and discarding a physical textbook has a greater carbon footprint than using online textbooks. In addition, many free apps allow students to download textbooks for less than half the price of a physical textbook. In this day and age, many students find using online textbooks much more convenient than using a physical textbook.

     Although online textbooks fulfill many students’ needs, physical textbooks may be the better option for some students. Online textbooks create opportunities for distractions while learning. Some students and teachers believe that the use and reliance on technology causes more harm than good. When the internet goes down, an occurrence to which all Fenwick students can relate, classes that heavily rely on the use of technology struggle. 

     Does this mean students should only use online textbooks or just physical textbooks? In the words of Mr. John Quinn, “It’s not a matter of if it should have a role, but rather determining what that role is.” The excessive use of technology may cause health issues such as lack of focus, sleep issues, and dry eyes. Limiting the use of electronic devices to one to two hours per day significantly reduces the risk of negative side effects. Online books are incredible resources when used in moderation. Axis 360 is a free app that allows students to access books as an alternative to buying physical books. Students who prefer physical books have the option to look to libraries in their surrounding area. Fenwick’s library allows students to check out a large range of books for free. Whether a student prefers online or physical books, Fenwick has options readily available.