Buying college textbooks is one part of back-to-school season we could do without; the rest, like catching up with friends and scoping out new school gadgets, can stay. With the accessibility of digital textbooks, high book prices and back strain from lugging heavy books around campus are happily becoming a distant memory. Give your wallet a break with these e-textbook resources:
- Kindle Textbook Rentals — Amazon's Kindle textbook service allows students to rent for only the time needed, whether it's 30 days for a report or a full year for a class. Books can be accessed on a PC, Mac, Kindle, iOS, Android mobile device, and BlackBerry. Notes made by the student in the text can be used even when the rental period has ended.
- NOOKStudy — Similar to the Amazon Kindle textbook platform, NOOKStudy is available for Macs and PCs. In addition to paid textbooks, Barnes & Noble offers over one million free digital books. Rental options are also available.
- iBooks Textbooks — Introduced in early 2012, Apple's partnership with top educational publishers offers hundreds of interactive textbooks for $15 or less.
- Kno — Buy or rent over 70,000 textbooks with this iPad app. Features let you organize supplemental class PDF readers into the app and ask questions of friends reading the same book.
Three more paper textbook alternatives after the break.
- Inkling — Also for the iPad, Inkling launched its for iPhone app this year, which lets users buy specific chapters in a book and take interactive quizzes to measure comprehension. There are only around 250 titles currently available on Inkling, but textbook publishers Pearson and McGraw-Hill recently invested in the company, indicating more books are to come.
- Chegg — This service allows students to rent, purchase, or print textbooks through the website. Chegg does some good also, as it will plant a tree for every book rented, five million already!
- HathiTrust Digital Library — A partnership of over 50 universities and libraries worldwide including the Library of Congress, the HathiTrust manages and publishes "orphan" academic books, those whose copyright owners cannot be found, digitally. Over eight million works are available through the database and are fully viewable online to members of the partner institutions.
Do you primarily use digital textbooks in school?