“There is no textbook for this class,” I heard my professor say on the first day of the semester. I let out a sigh of relief.
“Instead, there’s an e-book.”
I felt deceived. He said there wouldn’t be a textbook and now he’s telling us to buy an e-book? I wasn’t giving up my feasible paper books lovingly cradled by a hard cover simply because there is an electronic version of it. I couldn’t bare the thought of staring at my computer screen, straining my eyes as the clock strikes 1 a.m. I already spend too much time on my computer, why would I want to spend even more?
However, all of these worries went away once my professor said the magic words, “the e-book is a fraction of the cost.”
People like the feeling of accomplishment as they listen to the crisp sound of a page turning. There’s nothing like having a biology book give you a paper cut as you cringe, but move onward for the love of science. If you throw your book against the wall while studying for an exam, you feel completely justified, but if you threw your laptop against the wall, you’d have much bigger issues to worry about than your exam.
Once I ordered the e-book, I had to wait for an entire blink until it was mine. I thought that you had to do something substantial to be an environmentalist, but all I had to do was read my textbook on my laptop. Staring at a screen doesn’t do anything to hurt the environment, so why hasn’t this trend caught on?
As I trekked across Boston University’s 1.7-mile long campus, I had infinite knowledge at my fingertips and I had the ability to have multiple books within my grasp without feeling like a hopeless pack mule trudging down Commonwealth Avenue. Well, until my laptop died, of course.
I often find myself reading my e-book in Mugar, which seems so counterintuitive. Although I was among thousands of books, I wasn’t reading any of them. I was sitting there on my laptop reading an e-book. That’s when I realized our society has evolved substantially in the realm of education. Sifting through dusty textbooks isn’t an effective use of time when you can use Command+F (or Ctrl+F) to find whatever you need at the drop of a hat.
In a world where everyone owns either a laptop or a tablet, e-books are the best way to reach out to the larger audience, the audience that is key in creating a more sustainable future.
When it all comes down to it, people do whatever benefits them the most. So let’s get down to the facts — going green can make your wallet become greener as well. Starting small is the only feasible way to increase the number of courses that offer e-books for students, but it’s a start. No one said that being environmentally sustainable was going to be easy. It’s all about taking charge of our future because it’s never too late to turn over a new leaf.
Jennifer Ruth is a CAS junior. She can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org