E-Book Recall

Screenshot of E-book loading. Taken from Pearson Education website
Screenshot of E-book loading. Taken from Pearson Education website

AP Biology online textbooks recalled

By Shayna Kapadia

About a week before school started, the district informed the science department that they would not receive take-home hardcopies of the new AP Biology textbook. Instead, they would receive online textbooks. According to AP Biology teacher Mr. Chan, the education department decided to only distribute e-books because they would be more efficient and cost effective. Although this decision may have benefited the district, it posed many problems for the students.

First of all, each access code for the e-book can only make a certain amount of accounts. Some students made more than one account, which lead to others unable to gain access. Mr. Chan contacted the representative from the publisher and was able to receive more access codes. He lent out some of the class copies to those who were not able to make an account. “I like getting a textbook,” says sophomore Aishwarya Balivada, who received a textbook. “Schools should definitely go for textbooks rather than e-books.”

Secondly, you cannot download the book as a PDF file, which means that you must have internet access in order to use the e-book. “What if the internet goes down, what if the power goes down, you can’t get the book,” says Mr. Chan. The e-books can be very slow, as well. Sometimes you have to wait a minute or two to turn a page, which makes it difficult to go back and forth between the pages. Also some students do not even have access to computers. “The assumption of the e-book is that everybody has a computer and everyone has internet,” explains Mr. Chan. “They [the district] did not realize that this was not the case.”

As a solution, some students decided to buy the hardcopy instead of using the e-book. “It’s inconvenient to use an e-book,” says sophomore Aayush Sharma. “I didn’t want to rely on the internet because if it’s down, I wouldn’t be able to study. It’s better if I have a backup.” Another sophomore, Mishaal Malik says, “I don’t like the e-book because it hurts my eyes. I ordered a book, but it hasn’t gotten here yet.”

After the numerous complaints, the district has now decided to give students take home copies of the physical textbook. “We are waiting for them to deliver new books,” Mr. Chan explains. “In about a week or two, we can distribute the books.” Although it is great that we are getting new books, the district failed to realize that the complications of the e-book situation outweigh the possible benefits.