Considering a refurb New iPad (WiFi only) for college texbooks?

Discussion in 'iPad' started by MusicEnthusiast, Aug 22, 2012.

  1. MusicEnthusiast macrumors 6502


    Jun 23, 2010
    Los Angeles
    Hey guys.

    I have a lot of books to buy for autumn quarter coming up next month (two history classes and two atmos science classes). The hardcover and paperback books are pretty expensive, and I checked Amazon to buy some of them. But for my history books, I'd rather get electronic versions if they are super cheap (or much cheaper than Amazon).

    I hate reading ebooks on my 4 yr old HP laptop, so what are some good places to buy ebooks to view on the iPad's aspect ratio?

    Lastly, do you think an iPad is a good investment for this, even though I'm in my 4th and final year here at school?
  2. rfs2005 macrumors member

    Jul 20, 2008
    Should be a good investment. Some things to watch out for...some profs are old school, and will not allow iPads in class. Beware of that if you must use the textbook in class. Also, make sure you have or have access to a traditional laptop or desktop computer. I don't think the iPad is quite there yet to be a complete replacement for a computer. Lastly, when I was in school, some courses utilized flash-based websites for some of the curriculum. Be ready to find a workaround to use flash on the iPad, or use a computer, should you run into that problem.
  3. yttrium89, Aug 31, 2012
    Last edited: Aug 31, 2012

    yttrium89 macrumors newbie

    May 8, 2011
    Sophomore Engineering Student Experience

    So last year as freshman, I decided to buy a used ipad 1 to use for textbooks. I have certain hatred for physical textbooks, weight, bulk, expensive.... So I first used an app called course smart for my books, they generally have 540 day rentals which was more then enough for my standard classes.

    Pros of coursesmart- generally had my books most of the time for cheap ($100 savings)

    cons- poor quality, buggy app, crappy DRM.

    Now this actually worked really well for just reading on my own and doing problems (chem, calc, physics).
    But I took a german class, and we frequently used the book in classes and it was awkward always being the last one to change pages (lots of turning back and forth).

    So bottom line, I really using the ipad for the where I just read from the book and work problems but didn't have ti in class. I also like the price reductions and portability, (I had races to go to on the weekend and not lugging 20lbs of books has upsides)

    Now as a sophomore, I was able to find all my books of the kindle store which is much more pleasant than coursesmart. I also upgraded to the new iPad, for several reasons, but two of the big ones were the better screen (saved zooming in) and it was just much snappier. (first gen iPad was given subpar RAM and CPU)

    So to sum it up, I happy with what I did, if I could have changed anything I would have bought the physical german book (dropped it because I took Chinese in high school and wanted to return to that). Just beware, college is designed so that the campus book store is overpriced but idiot proof, if you try out electronic textbooks and your have trouble with it, your professor won't like (my textbook is taking a while to load) as an excuse. Also, fortunately I'm at a techie school, so everybody is pretty much glued to their electronics, every class I take has at least one 1 laptop open, but thats just me, I don't know your case.
  4. takeshi74 macrumors 601

    Feb 9, 2011
    It can be. Depends on you and your preferences. No solution is ever one-size-fits-all no matter how you define the group of people. In other words, for some college kids it's a good investment. For others it's a waste. The word "good" is always highly subjective.
  5. Agent-P macrumors 68030


    Dec 5, 2009
    The Tri-State Area
    I use the Kno app to get my textbooks and it was rather nice. It really cut down on the number of stuff that I needed to carry. Not to mention the price was much cheaper. However one thing that annoyed me was quite a few of the books I needed were written by the professors themselves, and they were only available from the university store. But for the ones I could use on my iPad, I liked the experience.
  6. SpectreOne3 macrumors member

    Sep 2, 2012
    I am working on a 2nd degree and since the program is online the vast majority of the materials are in pdf format. I have been using Notability to read and mark up the texts
  7. MaxxTraxx macrumors 6502

    Jul 2, 2008
    I would not recommend an iPad for school books at this time. For me, the price of the eBooks are crazy expensive, often times when you can find cheap used copies.
  8. kannesss macrumors 6502a

    Feb 18, 2008
    unless you can "find" ebooks, they really are crazy expensive. they are as much as a normal book.
  9. Bilalo macrumors 6502

    Aug 17, 2012
    Oxford, England
    According to statistics you read 2.3 times faster on an ipad, have less eye stress, and more pleasure so go for it. :)
  10. jumbopain macrumors newbie

    Jan 6, 2011
    last summer i got a used iPad for my senior year too. i also took history classes and for me, i found my books on kindle, google books, and ibooks (kindle version was cheaper than paperback). so i just bought them there and it worked out great.

    at my undergrad, the bookstore allowed you to rent e-books, which were less expensive than the physical text book. buying the e-book could be a diff story...

    if you can find a free PDF copy of the books, or old edition of the books floating around the internet, that would work too. I recommend using iAnnotate for PDF editing. they have gotten better and better.

    is it worth it for senior year? For me, yes. i was tired of lugging around heavy books. i actually only used my iPad for school and reading my other books & magazines. if you use our iPad for more than just school, then its even a bigger plus.

    furthermore, if you choose to continue to go to more schooling, it's definitely worth it. I chosen to go on to 4 more years of education, so my iPad was a sound investment. unfortunately, my iPad 1 is starting to show its age, so like you, i am looking to pick up the new iPad too!
  11. jomirrivera macrumors 6502

    Mar 15, 2011

    I had to buy three books, 140 dollars each!
    So I decided to put a little extra money and buyed an iPad 3 and loaded it with the three books in pdf format!
    So far, is working great!
  12. ECETeacher macrumors newbie

    Sep 14, 2012
    How did you get them on there as PDFs? Every eTextbook I've seen is a secure PDF

    I have one textbook available trough the kindle store, easy.

    One was for a course through Aplia which let me download a chapter at a time in regular PDF and I could put it to my iPhone and kindle.

    All the rest through CourseSmart, CengageBrain, Chegg etc. = secure PDF- that bane of my existence. The apps for those are so crappy that reading on anything but my actual macbook is pretty impossible.

    All I want is these on my iPhone and kindle! I'll pay I'm not trying to download free, I just want the option after I've paid to put on these devices directly (iBooks and/or kindle mobi) .... Ugh
  13. BiteMyApple macrumors member


    Aug 20, 2010
    Forest Hills, NY
    Yes! Amazing investment, no matter what year you're in. I completed my Bachelor last May and the iPad made my life so much easier during the last 2 semesters. Go for it, even if that's your only reason to get one.


    With a little luck, a simple Google search will bring you marvels.
  14. ECETeacher macrumors newbie

    Sep 14, 2012
    No such luck so far, and I've been trying pretty hard....

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