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In a Digital Age, Students Still Cling to Paper Textbooks

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Jason Mariasis

Jason Mariasis, president of Hamilton Colleges Entrepreneur Club, which started a Web site that allows students to sell textbooks to one another.

Heather Ainsworth for The New York Times

They text their friends all day long. At night, they do research for their term papers on laptops and commune with their parents on Skype. But as they walk the paths of Hamilton College, a poster-perfect liberal arts school in this upstate village, students are still hauling around bulky, old-fashioned textbooks—and loving it.

"The screen won't go blank," said Faton Begolli, a sophomore from Boston. "There can’t be a virus. It wouldn'’t be the same without books. They've defined 'academia' for a thousand years."

Though the world of print is receding before a tide of digital books, blogs and other Web sites, a generation of college students weaned on technology appears to be holding fast to traditional textbooks. That loyalty comes at a price. Textbooks are expensive—a year’s worth can cost $700 to $900—and students' frustrations with the expense, as well as the emergence of new technology, have produced a confounding array of options for obtaining them.

From The New York Times
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