School considers offering electronic books

By Andrew Lee



The school may allow students to use electronic books as an alternative for paper text books next year in a small number of subjects, Director of Studies Deborah Dowling said.



 If the idea is approved by faculty and staff, students will be given information on how to find electronic resources in addition to the textbooks available through the bookstore. Some subjects already encourage students to use electronic alternatives and supplements to paper textbooks.



Dowling hopes that more students will be able to have e-books as an option as an alternative or supplement to paper books. In some cases, the e-text alternative is not yet cheaper than paper textbooks, Dowling and Technology Integration Specialist Jennifer Lamkins said.


“I don’t see us demanding everyone to own an e-text,” Lamkins said. “It’s a matter of preference.”


Specialized e-book readers cost anywhere between $250 to $1,00, but most e-books can be read on a computer, a laptop, or a less specialized hand-held device.



 A student can search for a specific word or topic, copy and paste text into their coursework, comment within the textbook and enjoy a lighter backpack.


“They’re not just text. They do more than textbooks,” Dowling said. E-books are more accessible for people with disabilities with enlarged text options.


Lamkins said the e-book academic integration is in the developing stages now but may be available next September.


Lamkins said she doesn’t want to compromise academic text book quality. The bookstore is working with the distributors and publishers to make e-books available to students.


Lamkins said her goal of the e-book is to allow students to move seamlessly between paper and electronic books.


It’s all about the students’ convenience, she said. She hopes the e-book system will help traveling athletes.


Lamkins said the e-book technology still is not perfect and is quite “clunky.”


The school’s top priority is to find quality academic text, not favoring ones that are electronic, Lamkins said.


“Some e-books are not cheaper than textbooks, but we’re on our way there,” Dowling said. Dowling and Lamkins both agree the Amazon Kindle is academically limited and will not fit the school’s needs.


The struggle is finding an electronic platform that all book publishers can work with. Lamkins said students would be able to save a little money if they bought partial chapters of the text.


“We’re going to keep looking at e-books, see what’s good for everyone, and going to do it thoughtfully,” Lamkins said.

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