Staff and professors react to potential move toward digital books

By Syeda Sameeha and Cheyenne Roper, News Reporter

EC may be using more digital books with the upcoming loss of space in the library and the physical book being seen as “yesterday’s technology” by an EC board of trustee member.

Christina Kujawski, store manager for Beck’s Books, discussed the possible future of the campus bookstore. 

“Eventually we might consider moving more towards the e-book platform just because it’s cheaper for the students and most of you already have computers, phones or tablets,” said Kujawski.

It was also revealed by Kujawski that Beck’s may end up becoming a spirit shop in the near future if more professors head to the digital platform. 

“With technology moving forward as fast as it is, it’s a lot easier and a lot more effective to have e-books than it is to get the physical print copy book,” added Kujawski. 

EC English Professor Lance Wilcox cannot imagine the move from

digital to physical working out in anyone’s favor.

“Reading poetry on a Kindle would be like drinking a fine wine through a plastic straw,” said Wilcox. 

Despite the technological take-over, Head of EC’s A.C. Buehler Library Susan Swords Steffen, described how print book checkouts from students and faculty have remained the same as they always have.

“For students, browsing print books is still a valid way of gaining information and always has been.”

However, she also indicated how the library tries to do its best to cater to students in this very modern age, which includes offering access to books in every platform—including hundreds of thousands of e-books and other technologies. 

“We have access to over 350,000 e-books in the A.C. Buehler Library,” said Steffen

 Nowadays, a person can choose between physically holding the book in their hands and the experience of flipping the pages, or clicking a button on a tablet or computer. 

“There’s comfort in holding a book,” said EC senior Yuval Dohn.

However, Dohn also mentioned how there are aspects to both that can be useful. 

“I prefer a print book because I enjoy taking a pen and highlighter to a book, especially if I’m looking into themes and motifs, but I do like having e-books because they’re cheaper and can highlight something and can search for a term and it comes up.”

Urban Studies Department Head and Associate professor of political science Constance Mixon, as an author and as a professor, comes at the issue from two sides.

“The publisher for my book, ‘Twenty-First Century Chicago,’ was really pushing for an e-book because it would be cheaper for students, they don’t have the same costs of publishing and we can update content more frequently,” explained Mixon.

“As an instructor I want the best learning experience for my students—that they are learning the way that they learn best,” Mixon added. “I don’t care whether they’re reading on a computer or a hard copy of the book, they are still responsible for the material.” 

As for “books being yesterday’s technology,” Wilcox disagrees.

“Print books are absolutely not becoming a thing of the past. I expect both print and e-books to remain in widespread use for the foreseeable future,” said Wilcox.