Asmost people in their lives have seen and read physical textbooks, which havealways served as an academic knowledge based material for all age groups.Electronic textbooks which could also be known as ebook, has various terms anddefinitions. According to Sasson (n.d.), an ebook is an electronic format bookwhich is downloaded to a computer, laptop, tablet and smartphone or any othertypes of reading devices that can be read on the screen just like a printedbook. The usage of ebook have drawn wide attention to many people since thelast decade therefore, the benefits and drawbacks of ebook will be discussed. Themajor advantage to using ebook is cost effective. Author Bridge Media (2016)explains that companies like Amazon and Barnes and Noble make ebook availableat affordable rate as the buyer is not paying for the printing and shippingcosts of that of traditional books, also millions of books are readilyavailable on a economical rate.
However, purchasing ebook it self is not asaffordable as it seems, as the user has to own one of the reading devices suchas tablet or laptop in order to read; ebook is not a physical book, in which maintaining the reading device canbe somewhat challenging. Burton (2012) says that reading devices just like allthe technology needs to be regularly charged and infrequently updated, whichcan result to extreme damage on the reading devices. Inaddition, as for students these days are required to do a lot readings fortheir assignments, reading in an ebook for an extended period of time can causehealth problems.
Forbes (cited in Alshaali & Varshney, 2005) points outthat a research on reading from a screen is 20 percent to 30 percent slowerthan in physical paper. Since reading an ebook slows down the reading pace,there is higher chance that the user whoread in a long duration may result in eye problem such as eye strain or dryeyes. As for book writers, ebooks can easily be pirated with the use oftechnology, and hackers these days. Scott (2016) expresses that approximatelyaround 50 to 70 percent of all ebooks are pirated.
Therefore, buyers should beaware of buying ebook as buying pirated goods are illegal. Onthe other hand, portability is one of the benefit of using ebook. Ebook couldbe ideal for people who travel often, as several or more ebooks are carried ina go; without having to make an effort because they are always on the readingdevices such as tablet. Snarky Nomad (2015) agrees that ebook is portable andaccessible as it is useful when it comes to people with limited storage spaceand small apartments.
Moreover, ebook does not require any paper and ink toproduce since it is in digital form, therefore using ebook is environmentallyfriendly. As reported by Green Press Initiative (2011) that, on a per bookbasis, user who reads 100 books on their reading devices will impact 1/100th onthe environment than reading only one book on the same devices; in anotherwords, reading more ebooks on reading devices proves to have little effect onenvironment than reading only 1 ebook. Clearly,buying ebooks can save money and it is easy to carry around anytime andanywhere, and is environmentally friendly. However excessive reading on anebook can easily cause damage to eyes, and it should not be heavily relied on,as once the battery of the reading device is down, it needs regular charging.Either way, choosing to use ebook or not highly depends on personal preferencesas it may vary from one to another.