E-textbooks are a modern option for printed textbooks. They have similar content and layout as printed versions and are available for web viewing or download to a computer. Although in the era of technology students are more inclined to use online textbooks, there are some advantages and disadvantages.
An advantage would be the physical size of printed textbooks. Some textbooks may be heavy for students to carry and considering their daily schedule with many classes to attend, they would probably leave some books at home. It is not a coincidence that deskmates share their textbooks during classes.
E-textbooks represent a better option of having thousands of textbook pages compressed into a portable laptop or a school computer. E-textbooks on computer are more useful tools of searching for information making skimming and scanning easier processes of learning. Copied textbooks require time to search for information. E-textbooks are not only written material but they can also be audio material which can easily be learnt with the help of some headphones.
There are two types of e-textbooks: those which can be downloaded to one computer and used only online and others that can be downloaded to any computer and used both online and offline.
E-textbooks are much cheaper to buy than normal textbooks, sometimes can be for free. You are able to print only the pages that you need and if you loose the printed pages there would be no problem since you can print them again
As regarding the disadvantages, we can mention several. There are digital textbooks which are accessible through one computer. There is also some digital rights management which may cause problems if the computers break down or become inaccessible.
Many e-textbooks expire after a period of time which makes them rented books not bought ones. However, students may buy textbooks online and resell them later. Some other disadvantages could be added: some people do not like reading on a computer screen; printing can be rather expensive sometimes; some digital textbooks require special programs to be opened.
The decision of using printed textbooks or e-textbooks depends on each person. Those who enjoy having all the materials in electronic versions and are dependent on technology will definitely choose e-textbooks.