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The Battle Between Digital and Print

June 4, 2013

The textbooks vs. no-textbooks debate has been a "frequent flier" topic in my favorite online world language teacher communities (MoreTPRS, FLTEACH, #langchat). Most Comprehensible Input teachers tend to lean toward "no textbooks" (myself included), although many of us use non-traditional textbooks to some extent in our classrooms. (TPRS Publishing has some great ones!) Perhaps because of my anti-textbook stance, I have not spent much time considering the value of digital textbooks versus print textbooks. Textbook companies are developing more and more e-textbooks, and they are advertising them quite aggressively! You can find some killer deals on e-textbook series for your classroom. My thought has been that digital anything would be technological headache, but they would probably be cheaper!" Perhaps they would be good option for my classes since we don't use textbooks, but the school should probably have some on hand, maybe? I don't know. As I said, I hadn't given it any thought, really. With all that in mind, my interest in the topic was piqued when I received an email from Allison Moore asking me to look over her infographic, "Not so Fast, E-Textbooks: The Battle Between Digital and Print", originally posted on I thought that it was quite a timely thing to consider, seeing as there are some new digital-based curriculums on the market in the TPRS world (Scott Benedict's new Immediate Immersion Curriculum comes to mind!). I was not surprised that most students prefer to use or at least have access to a traditional textbook (I would place myself in that category), but I was surprised that e-textbooks save an average of just $1 per book over traditional textbooks. Have a looksie for yourself and let me know what you think--and then let me know what kinds of texts  you prefer to use with your students? Do you prefer something that comes with a student textbook or workbook (like the Cuéntame series), something that is primarily digital (like Immediate Immersion), or something less formal that uses student worksheets (like most of my units)? I'd love to hear your thoughts... Check out the infograph here.

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