Borrowing Books on Tablets and Online Schooling submitted by Estelle Shumann

April 23, 2012 at 5:58 pm Leave a comment

It’s uncommon for college students to spend hundreds of dollars every semester to buy several thick textbooks that burden their shoulders around campus. The buying and selling of textbooks is expensive, time consuming and usually involves a surge of bargain-crazed students hustling to get the few affordable used books for sale before the semester begins.  Unfortunately, this is the old world paradigm of university life.

Recycled Reads would like to thank Estelle for her post and remind folks that here at the bookstore we have a great selection of books in every subject if you’re looking for something that isn’t available yet as an ebook, please contact us.

Fortunately, the introduction of tablet computers brings hope for college students; students are able to read course material and interact with assignments while holding tablets weighing less than a paperback book not only lowers the cost of textbooks but also the physical burden of carrying monstrous textbooks.  This new student body is reading class textbooks and journals and borrowing library ebooks on their Kindles, Sony Readers, Nooks, tablets, and iPads. Not only does this open opportunities for students at traditional college campuses, it provides yet another avenue for learning for students completing online degrees on the go.

Public and university libraries have finally jumped on board the ebook bandwagon and the list of available books in electronic format is growing at an alarming rate.  This is has made online learning a possibility for many people who otherwise would not have enough access to research materials to be able to utilize ebook resources from anywhere internet is available.  In the age of online learning, that can be a stay at home mom getting a degree from a home computer in suburban America, or a student of international development using 3G internet on their iPad while sitting on beach in Vietnam.   Public and university libraries can subscribe to sites such as ebrary.com and with holdings of nearly 500,000 titles, students of most popular academic subjects are finding what they need for their research. On top of that, students are throwing off the yokes of buying cumbersome and expensive textbooks and using borrowing sites to avoid one of the greatest hassles of that old world paradigm of university life. 

Like any budding revolution, the kinks are still being worked as libraries wait for some reluctant publishers to jump on board.  According to a New York Times article, publishing giants Simon & Schuster and Macmillan are not allowing libraries access to their books at all, while HarperCollins is beginning to limit the number of times their books can be checked out before the license expires.  While this takes a chunk out of the available ebooks for students, university presses and independent publishers- whose content is more geared towards academia anyway- will still be available for lending.  Aside from the limitations from publishers not willing to play nice in the new game of literature sharing, it is simply not yet possible to have all written work of modern times available in electronic format. While new works are often being offered in both electronic and printed format from the get-go, a hundred-year-old report on an obscure battle that took place in the rugged mountains of southeast Turkey will be a little harder to find.  This is not to say we are not headed to a time when all written work of all ages is available to all students, but please, let’s be happy with the baby steps for now.

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