Digital textbooks have become prominent in universities, but that doesn't mean they're superior to traditional print. Paper products have been under scrutiny due to the popularity of digital mediums. However, paper still reigns, given the public's preference for them and the benefits they provide. Businesses have been adapting to electronic documentation for cost savings and easy storage, but they need to consider their employees' preferences. 

Hard-copy textbooks favored in college
According to The Chronicle of Higher Education, seven out of 10 students have been adapting to digital- only because it's cheaper than hard-copy textbooks, not because they enjoy digital more. However, digital is convenient – it's easier to carry around all the textbooks necessary on an ereader instead of piling them up in a backpack.

"The biggest 'pro' of digital texts is convenience, whether it's using a laptop, notebook or phone," Jim Johnson, a researcher and the director of instructional and information technology services at Indiana State University, told the Chicago Tribune.

Cost is certainly one way to pressure college students to purchase another product. With budget strains due to loans and other education costs, textbooks are often the last thing they want to splurge on. This can be disappointing, as digital has been proven to lack encouragement of comprehension and deep reading skills.

The downsides of digital
One of the major drawbacks of reading digital is the physical toll it takes on readers. A study done by Indiana State University found many students complained about eyestrain when reading from digital textbooks. Some students even became nauseated by the iPad 2s, most likely due to its high resolution.


[problem] is accommodation," Dr. Dennis Siemsen, assistant professor of ophthalmology at Mayo Clinic, told the Chicago Tribune. "Your eyes strain to accommodate the smaller print, which is usually smaller in electronic text. Second, many devices are back-lit so you're staring at a bright screen. It's like looking at the bright sun all day. Third, we tend to have our eyes wide open when looking at a screen, as opposed to partially open when we hold a book. This can lead to dry eye."

The source added that digital textbooks can sometimes cost more than printed textbooks. However, students cannot sell back digital textbooks. These digital texts would also be costly on top of the devices students have to use for them, which adds up in the end. Although professors seem to like digital books because they are easier to update to current material, they should take students' preferences into consideration.

Which is exactly what businesses need to do when thinking about going paperless. Employees and customers prefer having paper in their hands they can hold – digital doesn't allow them to have the feeling of texture and importance. Prior to any plans to go paperless, they need to consider their clients and workers before they suffer like college students are.