eBooks vs Print Books

eBooks vs Print Books: Med Student Survey

"Easy, John, help will be here any day now."

As a medical student, which do you prefer, eBooks or print books?

A previous post summarized the pros and cons of eBooks versus print books in general.  Do the particular needs of medical students tilt the preference one way or the other?  I.e.:

Medical study is intense, involving a great deal of reading.  Does the glare  of reading on a screen for long periods outweigh the convenience of not carrying  around  heavy books and the generally decreased pricing of eBooks?  While eBooks provide the opportunity for sound and video, many subjects do not need sound and video for effective presentation, or the sound and video could be presented as a separate program on your computer.  Medmaster has done this for a number of its titles, with CDs that accompany the print books, the print books for the long stretches of reading, and the CD programs for additional interactivity.

Medical study often involves a great deal of text highlighting and page turning.  While you can do this with both eBooks and print books, the process seems slower with eBooks than with print books.  Is this enough of a problem to lead students to still prefer print books?

Another issue is the distraction that can occur when reading from an eReader.  Do all the links to other areas, to YouTube, apps, games, the Web, music, and news  steal time from the reading and study of the medical book, which should be the main object of focus?

What is your opinion?  If you have used eBooks, do you find that you prefer them to print books?  Would you use both?  Please send your opinion.  Your feedback is important.

9 thoughts on “eBooks vs Print Books: Med Student Survey”

  1. when medmaster have their books in e format and available in an e store like Amazon,l and my friends will purchase them at once.

  2. Hi Dr. Goldberg,

    Perhaps the reader’s age changes the perspective of this question, as it will on almost any topic. I was born in ’73, so for me the learning ritual in intrinsically intertwined with white out, markers, the feel of paper, the smells of books, etc… This kinesthetic experience is a treasured one – it makes my learning experience fun, dynamic and interactive. It would change the experience completely to use e-books. To illustrate this point, let’s use instead written vs. electronic correspondence as an example. Now, we send e-mails to each other instead of sending handwritten letters via “snail mail”. I MISS writing and receiving handwritten letters. It’s a personal form of expression and communication that seems downright inefficient, nowadays.
    How can you begin to describe the beauty and intimacy of that experience to a generation
    who has not been exposed to it? So, despite all of the practicalities and conveniences of
    the e-book, I will always choose a print book first. I still hold on to the value that old
    scholarly scrolls, parchment, leather bound books and the like will always have
    (think Declaration of Independence, an ancestor’s handwritten journal, etc…).
    What are we leaving behind to share with others?

    Hope V.

  3. I’m a Med students and I had a good experience with http://www.blikbook.com here you can rent ebooks, and they also have a good question and answer section for university students with a great response time. At the moment they are doing a £200 give a way for the best academic question asked on the website.

  4. I’m a medical student in Europe. For me ordering a print book means waiting forever for it to arrive, paying large shipping costs and taxes and often having to spend half my day at the offices of customs services.

    For international students ebooks are definitely the way to go,

  5. I totally prefer print books because they don’t cause me headaches like I have when I read from a computer, also I think that touching paper with some notes you can put on will have a good impact on the studying process..
    ebooks in general make me less concentrated, and function as readying machine only.

  6. Please hurry up and make ALL of your books available as eBooks! Yet another matriculating class of medical school students is now disappointed, and you are losing lots of money by not responding to the high demand and rapidly developing technology standards in med schools.

  7. There is a greater blessing in doing things the traditional way. All things virtual, compact and essentially in our pockets is great, but it takes away the sensation of flicking through the pages and seeing all that progressive reading live.

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