Are e-books cheaper than printed books?

The textbooks of the various faculties are loaned from the University’s libraries hundreds of thousands of times each year. E-books are becoming more popular, and the Library also purchases an e-book version of every textbook if one is available. For students, e-books are practical since they can be accessed remotely and are easy to transport. For libraries, the easier administration of e-book collections enables the reallocation of resources from handling books to other forms of customer service.

The traditional book format will not disappear from studies for at least a decade, even though various electronic readers and e-books are becoming more common. Not only is it currently particularly difficult to find Finnish e-books, but not all international publishers are interested in electronic publishing at the moment.

Unlike what many think, a book does not become cheaper in digital format. The average price of a printed textbook is between €50 and €70, while the cheapest e-books are approximately €40. However, digitised resources commonly cost more than €200 or even more than €1,000. This is often the case in medicine, where the course materials may refer to small research fields.

The Helsinki University Library uses donations to purchase books and course materials which are in demand. The requirements for research and teaching keep changing with scientific development. New material is needed constantly.

You can choose the sum of your donation based on the average price of a textbook, approximately €50. Alternatively, you can allocate your donation to fund the textbook purchases for an entire course, or support the acquisition of a rare specialist resource.