A Complete Guide on Digital Textbooks


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Immersive and interactive textbooks accessible via the Internet surely make reading more fun and engaging for the end users, especially new-age students. Thus, we now see a major influx in the production of digital textbooks or eTextbooks that make the reading experience all the more dynamic and enjoyable.

Let’s discuss the fundamental concept of digital textbooks, how they work, and the practical benefits that can be reaped from these electronic versions of traditional books. Just in case you are a publisher wanting to leverage digital transformation, this article can be your ultimate guide. Keep scrolling.

Digital Textbooks

What are digital textbooks?

Digital textbooks are the electronic version of conventional hardcover books that can be accessed, viewed, and read via the Internet over desktops or smartphones, as well as through a “digital bookshelf”, wherein the textbooks are distributed.

Besides reading them online, these electronic books can also be downloaded for later reading. Usually, these digital versions are simply facsimiles of printed materials, though some contain multiple interactive features. These interactivities which are majorly absent from printed books, give a competitive advantage to the digital replicas.

Are eBooks and digital textbooks the same?

Well, apparently, both are similar, as eBooks are also digital books; but there are some glaring technical differences between these.

Digital books are mainly enhanced scanned replicas of published paperback books and are majorly found in PDF, TEXT, and MOBI formats. These are usually an enhanced extension of their printed counterparts with better quality, clarity, and readability.

An eBook is also a digital version of a traditional book, but in a much more condensed manner, ideal for the Internet. To be precise, these are designed and developed solely for the Internet. Usually, eBooks are shorter and are produced more quickly than digital book versions. As well as, most eBooks are never officially printed or published.

How does a digital textbook work?

The functionality of open source eTextbooks has evolved significantly, offering better-quality texts with enhanced readability. Owing to this, implementations have increased too. South Korea and the US are one of those trailblazers in adopting and implementing electronic books within their education policy.

The newer versions are well known for their ability to zoom in-zoom out images, cue up voice recordings of certain chapters, easy navigation from one portion of text to the other, advanced search and tagging features, display pages from separate chapters at once, etc.

Are digital textbooks cheaper than traditional books?

To a certain extent, they are cheaper than textbooks due to no printing, warehousing, or shipping costs, and no loss incurred for unsold printed materials.

Moreover, students and faculties can subscribe to a digital server or “bookshelf” and enjoy unlimited online access to the open-source and completely free-to-use reading materials.

That said, digital versions of printed textbooks are definitely a much cheaper and easier to create digital textbooks and more convenient solution for publishers and educational institutions.

Are they protected from illegal printing and piracy?

Yes, they are. Just like in the case of digital eBooks, with proper DRM (Digital Rights Management) protection in place, only verified and authorized users can access the digital books content. Also, with DRM, a certain time limit can be set to control the validity of the access codes.

What are the benefits of digital textbooks, especially for the education sector?

There are several significant advantages of digital textbooks, majorly because of their easy accessibility, security, and anywhere, anytime access. Let’s glance through some of those benefits, especially those for the education and eLearning industries.

  1. Digital textbooks are cost-effective

    Compared to standard school and college textbooks, digital books cost much less than the former, almost by half. Regular laptops, PCs, or smartphones are enough to read these electronic texts.

  2. Easy to purchase or download

    Online book readers can easily download or buy them from digital bookshelves, read them online, or download them for later reading. No hassle for storing the physical books or buying them at hefty bucks.

  3. Convenient anytime, anywhere access

    Electronic books can be accessed without any limitations from anywhere in the world, without having to carry bulky textbooks. Search and navigation features are also advanced, with easy highlighting and copy-pasting, usually absent in paperbacks.

  4. Robust cloud-storage

    Digital books are stored in secure cloud servers that help to integrate them with all the related source materials. Furthermore, users can add more peers or participants to collaborate on a piece of content.

  5. Seamless integration

    Most digital resources can be easily integrated with Google Drive, Dropbox etc., facilitating easy document upload and conversion.

  6. Videos can be added to boost engagement

    Whether targeted towards students, corporate employees, or regular online readers, embedding videos within the content adds to the overall user experience making it all the more engaging.

  7. Digitally transform your operations

    By adopting digital reading assets, business owners can simplify the process of training, induction, and the like. More so, publishers can reach a more diverse and larger audience by converting books into online resources, thus boosting sales.

  8. Support learning skills

    With digitized learning materials, there’s no stopping to learning whether or not the faculty is present. This way, pedagogic practices can further evolve for students worldwide.

  9. Personalize the digital content

    Teachers can personalize the instructional curriculum based on the preferences or favorite lessons of the students. Such a deeper level of customization isn’t possible with printed books, which usually have a one-size-fits-all approach.

  10. Convenient to work, collaborate, and measure performance

    Digital resources are the best option for collating assignments, collaborating with other teammates, promoting learning skills, as well as predict outcomes and performances. Since teachers can modulate the chapters, learning modules, and other instructions, the potential performance can be understood.


Hope you have learned something about digital textbooks, what they are, how they are utilized, and what benefits they exert on end users.

Gen Ys and Gen Zs are more tech-savvy than millennials and are more prone to scrolling phone screens than turning pages. Whether it is a boon, or a bane is left for the experts to say. But clearly, modern eLearning and online knowledge consumption will see a bigger surge in digitized textbooks or eBooks.

Nonetheless, choosing the right eBook designing template and style matters the most for digital conversion; for which professional agencies offering high-end ePublishing services are the best.