Blue Glow of Information – Electronic Textbooks

The Spring semester is right around the corner, and yet again, it’s time to get textbooks for your classes. Before purchasing your textbooks, consider purchasing electronic textbooks instead due to their advantages over their physical counterparts. Since these ebooks hold the same content as physical textbooks along with a few extra features, there are advantages, but similarly, there are disadvantages.


The upsides to using ebooks are the general pros of using an electronic document as compared to a physical document; the accessibility of the material and the available features. An obvious advantage comes from not having to lug around a reams of paper due to being able to access these books with commonly carried devices, such as a laptop. A few neat features that come bundled with the fact that the ebooks are a text document. Features include the ability to search a document, finding a particular point in the textbook as simple as hitting “Find” (ctrl+F or command+F for Windows and OSX respectively), or jumping to a particular chapter using a table of contents, instead of having to flip through pages until you found the correct section.

Table of contents for an etextbook allowing you to skip to a specific chapter on the fly.
Table of contents for an etextbook allowing you to skip to a specific chapter on the fly. Image taken on OSX Finder.

One issue that arises with ebooks is that some publishers sell their textbooks through a digital download or allow you to view the ebook through a browser. With the download, most publishers place Digital Rights Management (DRM) on the ebooks, allowing only one device to download and view the ebook, and with the browser ebook, you must valid an internet connection to get to the site with the book.

If you’re still unsure about electronic textbooks and whether you’ll want to use them, you can use Chegg’s sample ebooks to try the functionalities available. You find reach this sample by visiting


As a side note; if you do decide to purchase ebooks, I recommend using flux, a software designed to change the colors of the screen to help with the blue light emitted from screens, which can cause issues with sleep (further information can be found by flux’s research page: Flux is available for OSX, Windows, Linux and iDevices such as iPods and iPads.