Print Textbook vs. E-Textbook in the Classroom – Which Works for You?

Print Textbooks vs. E-Textbooks

With the recent rise in technology and increased focus on the 21st century classroom, most kids today have access to smart phones, tablets and the knowledge of how to operate them. It comes with no surprise that many schools have decided to switch from print textbooks to electronic textbooks (e-textbooks) for their classroom.

I’d like to turn this blog into somewhat of a discussion; exploring both textbooks and e-textbooks and letting you, the reader, decide which you prefer to use.


In a nutshell, e-textbooks are digital copies of books that contain the same information and arrangement as hardcopy versions. E-textbooks often include an audio component or full audio versions, closed captioned videos for the hearing impaired, and the format of many electronic files are compatible with adaptive or support technology. Some are made for online use only while others can be downloaded and placed on tablets (Kindle, iPad, etc.) or computers.  E-textbooks can also be interactive with opportunities for increased student engagement embedded with the text itself. This allows students and educators to utilize point-of-use videos, lesson tutorials, interactive exercises and other resources.

Print Textbooks:

According to TeacherVision, “Textbooks provide organized units of work; it (textbook) gives you all the plans and lessons you need to cover in a topic.”  In addition, it goes onto describe that people who read textbooks tend to comprehend and learn more. Textbooks don’t require power, so concerns regarding battery life on tablets or computers are eliminated.  Since they don’t require any special equipment (batteries, chargers etc.) they are completely portable allowing for students to take them home and complete assignments without worrying about owning or damaging expensive electronic equipment. In addition, textbooks also provide a normal progression of information and lesson difficulty. Finally, all the concepts in a textbook build on each other allowing for prior knowledge to help aid in the learning process.

Each delivery method provides students and teachers with access to the course materials, but there are advantages to each method that are not seen in the other. Ultimately, the decision to use e-textbook vs. print textbook boils down to personal preference and teaching style. Knowing the advantages of each delivery method is essential to making an informed decision for your classroom. Do you prefer to have your students get their hands on physical textbooks every day or have students watch videos that are embedded in their e-textbooks.

The choice is yours, what do you prefer? Let us know!