Are They a Thing of the Past? Pros and Cons of Textbooks


Textbooks are a staple in the educational system, but their place is being challenged. Some people believe that textbooks are outdated and not worth the investment. However, others argue that they are still treasured for students of all ages. Today, we will discuss both sides of this debate and help you decide whether or not to invest in new textbooks for your classes.

The Pros of Textbooks

Textbooks are still helpful in the educational system. They provide the following benefits for both teachers and students.

Limited Distractions

A textbook is designed to allow students to access their information quickly and efficiently without having many extraneous materials or distractions in their way. With little motivation, students can cover a lot of material in a relatively short period.

The Ability to Share

If you have siblings or friends who need to use a textbook for school, you can easily share yours with them. There is no chance of the information being lost or changed when transferred from one person to another. As a result, you will save money when you get free access to study materials.

Coursework Organized Into Manageable Units

Learning using textbooks is organized in a way that makes it easy for students to absorb information. A book comprises chapters divided into sections with headings and subheadings, so your mind does not have to manually sort the material you learn.

For instance, a chapter on what is an expository essay may be divided into several sections, like definition and the body. This way, a student can focus on one section at a time rather than being overwhelmed with too much information to take in at once.

Convenience for Teachers

First-time teachers often bring with them the experience of having used traditional textbooks during their schooling. For many teachers, it allows for a smooth transition into the profession. The traditional way of teaching does not require too much effort or time, which is why many people find it so convenient.


Many teachers prefer not to create their materials, and there is a sense of comfort in using the same textbook as their colleagues at the school or district level. Moreover, traditional textbooks have pre-printed lesson plans that tell you exactly what sections should be covered each day.

No Requirement for Expensive Installations

Unlike online learning, there are no additional fees or software installations required. All you need is your book and, if you wish, a notebook for writing down or highlighting important information. You can borrow your textbooks from the library or even purchase used copies at a fraction of the cost.

It’s Easy to Refer Back to Necessary Sections

When you are looking for specific information, say, for example, a visual analysis essay outline, there is no need to search through all of your online materials or emails. Instead, flip through the pages and refer back to the necessary sections.

The Cons of Textbooks

Despite these benefits, using textbooks has its downsides. Here are the most common ones.

They Are Expensive

While old textbooks can be expensive, new ones are even more so. The average price of a book is $38, which takes up quite a bit over the course of an entire semester, especially for college students already struggling to make ends meet. Buying second-hand books may still be expensive for some students, especially for items that are in high demand.

They Need Regular Updates

Information keeps changing, and textbooks are no exception. As new information becomes available, it becomes necessary for publishers to update textbooks so that students have the latest facts for exams or projects. Otherwise, you may be studying outdated material, which could lower your grade.

It Can Be Hard to Read

Reading can get boring, and it’s easy to start daydreaming or zoning out. A textbook is a long way from an exciting novel, so students may have difficulty focusing on the text. As a result, they spend more time trying to read and grasp a topic.

Textbooks Are Not Personalized

Textbooks come in standardized forms, and they aren’t personalized to your learning style or preferences. This can make studying more difficult since the material in front of you does not cater to what you need. For instance, books will represent a topic like the informative essay outline similarly, without considering that some students learn differently.

You Need Space

Having several copies of books for each subject means more room is needed for keeping your books. This can be difficult if you are not living in an open dorm or apartment setting or if your school does not provide more than one locker. With online books, you can often access them from a tablet or laptop. You do not have to worry about finding extra bookshelf space.

Textbooks Are Heavy

Whether you’re a teacher or student, moving around with a bunch of books can be a pain. It’s been reported that many students have experienced back problems due to carrying heavy textbooks or stacks of them from one place to another. With online books, you can forget about the issue.

Striking a Balance

Textbooks are still beneficial despite having many drawbacks. Incorporating them into the classroom can be difficult, but there are ways to make it easier. For example, teachers might consider using a hybrid system of textbooks and online books.

This way, students can have the best of both worlds: textbooks for reference material and online books as a supplementary resource to help with homework or studying for tests. This system would be more convenient for everyone.