3 Ways to Better Utilize Your Electronic Textbooks

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3 min read

A growing number of colleges are moving toward offering electronic textbooks for purchase or rental. There are many advantages to using electronic textbooks, including lower cost (in some instances) and ease of transportation. It is often more convenient to carry a tablet than several heavy books. 

Many school districts are going digital however, if you are accustomed to print textbooks, effectively perusing an electronic textbook might require new skills. Here are three ways to utilize your electronic textbooks to their full potential: 


Mark up the text

A main difference that students note between using traditional textbooks and using electronic textbooks is the way they interact with the text. Students may be accustomed to reading a traditional textbook with a highlighter or pencil in hand. Perhaps they underline and take notes in the margins. This ability is not lost with electronic texts – it is simply different.

Electronic textbooks allow you to highlight text and then add notes to that highlighted section. You can add notes directly to the text, which is similar to jotting down notes in the margin or on a separate sheet. However, unlike traditional texts, there are several additional features that are involved with an electronic textbook.

When you review your materials, your electronic notes will appear alongside the text. This is often helpful when writing academic papers. Some e-book companies will automatically transform your notes into electronic flashcards that you can use to study later. 

Additionally, many electronic textbooks provide you the option of sharing your notes with others. This feature allows you to exchange notes and information with other students who are reading the same e-book.

Personalize it to your needs

Electronic textbooks offer tools that are not possible with traditional textbooks. These tools permit students with varying learning styles to benefit from the text. 

Some electronic textbooks can be converted into audio books. If you already own software that reads electronic text aloud, the software is usually able to interact with e-books in ways it cannot with traditional texts. If you are more of an auditory learner than a visual learner, it may be beneficial for you to listen to the text instead of reading it by yourself. 

Most electronic texts also make it possible for you to increase the font size of the document. This is advantageous if your eyes become fatigued from excessive reading or if you struggle to read smaller fonts. Some programs will also let you change the background or text color to further ease the strain on your eyes. 

Utilize additional study features

Some of the most valuable study features included with electronic texts tend to go unnoticed. Keywords and terms are often searchable, which can save you time you might otherwise spend flipping through pages or referring to the glossary. Furthermore, terms are sometimes hyperlinked to other resources that provide additional information on them. Videos and interactive content can also be linked to or embedded directly within the e-book. 

Certain electronic textbooks offer resources such as study guides, tests, and quizzes, which you can use to study more efficiently, whether independently or with a tutor. Use these items when reviewing as a mode of testing your knowledge and preparing for exams. Think of these features as study tools to be incorporated into your normal review routine.

Electronic textbooks require some adjustment, as well as skills that are different from those involved with traditional textbooks. They also offer a great deal of extra features, which can increase your success as a student. Enjoy!