Is an E-reader Necessary for College?

Another year is winding down, meaning soon-to-be college students are preparing their minds and wallets for campus life. Making lists and scouring shelves can be tiring and stressful, especially if you feel the need to buy anything and everything displayed in a store’s designated college aisle.

Nowadays, with online shopping at its best and new, easy-to-use gadgets that have the potential to assist academically, like the Kindle, iPad, and Nook, these purchases can make things more and more complicated.

A word of caution: Just because it’s shiny and new doesn’t mean it’s crucial for courses or the dormitory. The last thing any chic student needs is more desk clutter, atop notebooks, folders, and other school supplies. While an e-reader certainly has its benefits and appeal, it doesn’t have to be at the top of the college essentials list.

That is, at least according to an article by  The website says students did not find the Kindle to be a preferred replacement for a tangible textbook. With a slower transition from page to page and downloading of different books, the e-reader left a lot to be desired among college students and, the article says, many do not think the product will gain momentum in the academic world until the kinks are worked out.

There is also concern for a lack of accommodations for the hearing and visually impaired, including the difficulty in accessing the “read-aloud feature.”  

Not only do its features need reparations, but e-readers are often best for leisure reading. Tech junkie Brian Jacobson, a senior media studies major at Quinnipiac University, purchased a Nook last June and an iPad this semester. Like many, Jacobson doesn’t think the Nook has assisted his college life, but is more a source for entertaining literature.

“When I bought it I was like ‘I’ll use it for personal reading and school,’ but realistically, you can’t get a textbook on that screen,” he said. “You may be able to on an iPad, but not on a Nook. It’s great for [reading for pleasure], and that’s about it.”

When you arrive to college, you’ll find the reading style that works best for you, whether it includes an actual book or a tech-savvy device. But don’t feel like an e-reader is an absolute necessity to succeed in college. You will do that all on your own, U-Chicer!

By Tracy Diamond, Quinnipiac University

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