If spending up to $50,000 a year on tuition at an elite university sounds pricey, don’t forget to factor in the cost of textbooks. Unless you buy your books used (read: filled with other students’ comments in the margins), one can easily rack up a hefty bookstore bill. In fact, the average student spends between $300 and $400 per semester on textbooks. And that’s money you won’t really recoup if you sell the books back to your campus bookstore at the end of the year.
Enter digital textbooks: they cost as much as 50 percent less than their hardcover counterparts, and while you can’t sell them back when you’re done, they won’t take up any space in your dorm or in your backpack. But should you get a multifunction tablet or a cheaper dedicated eReader? And which device has the best selection of textbooks? Here’s what you need to know before you buy. When you’re ready to buy, check out our roundup of the Top Five eReaders for Students.