Imagine walking around the University of Tennessee campus, and not seeing students overloaded with heavy, expensive textbooks in tow.
That could soon become a reality, as a growing number of electronic textbooks, or "e-books" are available and being sold at the university bookstore.
"A lot of students have started to request e-books," said UT bookstore manager Tommi Jamison. "They're tired of carrying 3-to-4 lbs., each and they may have 6-to-8 books to carry."
Within one semester, the ratio of textbooks to e-books has grown. According to Jamison, it went from 3% of all texts to about 5%.
She said beside the accessibility, the cheaper costs of an e-book is helping fuel this trend.
"It's easier to update the information and you're saving the costs, the printing costs that the publisher out to the retailer and to the student," Jamison added.
For example, a beginner's biology book sold at the bookstore costs $160 as a hard copy, versus $125 in an e-book version.
"It's cheaper. I can access it just the same just as if I had a textbook... it's less fuss," said UT sophomore Amanda Myers, who was able to find one of her required texts as an e-book.
So far, not every text at the bookstore has an e-book copy. However, as time goes on, Jamison said more required reading will have an electronic copy available for students.