10 Reasons Why You Should Buy an E-Reader for School

We'll help you decide whether you should get an e-reader for school

September usually means a rush to stock up on school supplies—everything from binders and highlighters to textbooks and designer jeans. In recent years, computers, laptops, and e-readers have been added to the mix. If you're not sure if dropping up to $300 on a tablet or e-reader is worth the investment, here are ten reasons why a Kindle, NOOK, or another e-reader may be worth considering.

A student reads on a Kindle e-reader.
Kris Ubach and Quim Roser/ Getty Images
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Three textbooks in a backpack can weigh 15 pounds. A laptop can weigh up to five pounds. This weight can be a burden at the end of a long day.

Choosing an e-reader for your texts means lightening that load to less than a pound. Some e-readers will fit in your pocket.

As a bonus, with your library in your pocket, you can say goodbye to the old college standby of bookshelves made from planks and cinder blocks.

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Hardware Cost

A multipurpose device like an iPad may make a decent e-book reader, as long as you don't use it outdoors or under reflective lights.

The cheapest iPad starts at over $300. Most top-selling e-readers are priced under $150, and you can buy a budget Kindle for $80.

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Save Money on Books

We looked at a random grade 12 English class reading list, pulled six required novels, and searched for those books on Amazon. To buy printed versions (paperback where available) would have cost $69.07. Buying the Kindle versions came out to $23.73.

Prices may vary, depending on the subject and titles. Still, e-books tend to be cheaper than printed versions. For some students, the e-reader may pay for itself.

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Surveys have shown that e-reader owners tend to read more than they did before taking the plunge. The convenience of having a variety of e-books in their pocket is a big reason why.

When you carry an e-reader, you can easily catch a few minutes of reading while riding the transit or taking a break between classes. With an e-reader, you're not limited to the one or two textbooks in your backpack.

When it comes to school, reading more is definitely a good thing.

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Highlight at Will

With traditional paper textbooks, you may be reluctant to make notes or highlight passages for fear of ruining a book's resell value. If you make a note, then change your mind, those scribblings clutter the page.

Most e-readers offer the ability to highlight text and make notes without permanently vandalizing the e-book.

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Free Email

If you're budget-conscious and need email access, invest in an Amazon Kindle Paperwhite or Kindle Oasis. These e-readers offer cellular wireless connectivity. With these e-readers, you can send and receive emails for free and without a Wi-Fi connection.

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Get Social

E-reader manufacturers are increasingly adding social media functions to their offerings. Kobo has Reading Life, for example, while Barnes & Noble offers NOOK Friends.

Using these tools, you can engage in conversations about e-books, share thoughts, and make recommendations. In some cases, you can lend or borrow titles. It's easier than rounding up a group of people for a study session.

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Skip the Bookstore Lineups

Most e-readers are available with Wi-Fi connectivity. So, while other students stand in line for hours at the school bookstore with armloads of texts, you can shop online and have your purchases instantly show up on your e-reader.

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Library Schmibrary

Libraries are continually growing their e-book collections. If you'd rather relax at home than make the trip to borrow a book, an e-reader lets you pick up many titles for two weeks without spending a dime or leaving the dorm.

Better yet, there's no trudging back to the library to return borrowed books, no late fees, and copies are pristine.

The Amazon Kindle has been shut out of this feature for the past few years but has since joined the party.

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Battery Life

Most e-readers can go a month without recharging. Some, such as the NOOK Simple Touch, can last up to two months. That means that, unlike a tablet or laptop, you don't need to charge your device every night or remember where you put the charger or USB cable.

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