E-Book Learning

By: Meaghan M. Norman Email
By: Meaghan M. Norman Email

Amazon's Kindle, Barnes and Noble's Nook and Apple's iPad -- all pale in comparison to the sturdy, trustworthy textbooks.

"It's tangible and something I can hold," said Michigan State University junior Melanie Pierce. She loves to highlight, annotate and an e-book reader doesn't help. "I just don't like reading it on the computer. I'd rather print it out," said Pierce.

Kathryn Lawson just picked up her books for the semester and like many students we talked to at MSU, would take textbooks any day over the e-book readers on the market.

"I like computers but I prefer to read things on paper," said Lawson.

But the popularity of iPads for instance has grown since first hitting the market in April and MSU researchers expect that trend to continue.

"The iPad from a functionality standpoint, I think it's going to be the next big thing," said MSU researcher Duncan Selby. "If you want to make highlights, annotations, it's all done there. You can basically have the flexibility with an iPad that you don't have with a paper book."

From Biology to Calculus -- textbooks can get pretty heavy and costly. But many student prefer the weight to changing their habits.

"I'm not updated on technology. I prefer textbooks even though the technology would be more convenient I still prefer textbooks," said MSU student Amber Suttorp.

"They weren't all the interested in reading a textbook on a kindle reader or e-book," said Spartan Bookstore Manager, Robbin Manor.

That's great news for the Spartan Bookstore that would potentially lose business if students made the switch. But MSU says that switch is probably a long way off.

"MSU's approach has been more cautious -- we want to advance the technology but also hit the right niches," said Selby.

Hitting the right niches means having everyone on board which cleary isn't the case, yet.

Douglas Estry, the Associate Provost for Undergraduate Education & Dean of Undergraduate Studies says currently the iPad technology or the e-book readers don't match up with the current school software. Things could change but if they do, it would be student-driven. If students all switch to that technology the the school will take it into consideration.


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