Print books or e-books? Rex Education believes in the complementing benefits of digital and printed learning materials in the new normal


The new normal of education is changing so many facets of how students learn and experience school. 

For the longest time, textbooks have always been a non-negotiable learning material for students from basic education to graduate school. When the pandemic forced many schools to adapt an online distance learning setup, institutions began to review the need for printed books, and the alternative opportunities presented by digital books or e-books. 

In response to the need to make more alternatives available for more students, Rex Education expanded their offerings of printed textbooks with e-book versions and various digital complimentary learning and assessment materials. The goal is not to replace printed books, but to create more options suitable for the varying needs and circumstances of the Filipino Whole Learners that they serve. 

The dawn of e-books—and its effects on learning 

The students now are digital natives; they breath and live the internet and the digital age. That makes using e-books more natural and familiar to them. 

The biggest strength of e-books lie in its portability. An unlimited number of e-books can be stored in one device, and can be carried around and read whenever, wherever. The ease of transport and availability of e-books became very significant especially during the pandemic school year. 

But while e-books came with many strengths in an online digital learning setup, they also came with limitations and weaknesses. 

Nowadays, when children are stuck at home, they are exposed to an unhealthy amount of screen time. Rex Education, a leading provider of learning solutions in the Philippines, recommends that the amount of screen time for elementary students aged 6-12 should only be up to 1.5 hours a day. For secondary school students aged 13-17, the recommended screen time should not be more than 2 hours per day. That recommended number is easily surpassed when classes are held online and assignments require online research, and the learning materials they have access to are digital as well. The additional exposure to screen time definitely increases the students’ susceptibility to screen fatigue, which may lead to blurred vision, redness, dryness, and irritation. 

People who read e-books tend to get sidetracked more easily, as well. Digital readers tend to spend more time scanning for keywords than actually processing what they’re reading. It’s easy to get distracted by links and get sucked into an internet rabbit hole of irrelevant—and sometimes, dangerous—content on the web. 

The value of printed textbooks in the digital age 

Print books have been around for decades for a reason: they are less strenuous on the eyes and provide a more tangible experience for the reader. And when it comes to the retention ability and learning experience between e-books and printed books, printed books have been found to reign supreme. 

According to a study that was presented in Italy, readers of print books were found to absorb and remember more of the material that they were reading compared to e-book readers. Books also give the students the ability to write notes and highlight important information, helping them absorb and understand the subject material better. 

Students who have books at home are also more likely to score higher on tests, according to a study of readers from 42 countries. 

Compared to e-books, printed books present not distraction, but imagination. Books provide gateways to unlocking the capabilities of the brain, encouraging the learner to put the things they learn together, therefore enabling better learning retention. 

The new normal of learning materials 

To balance the strengths and weaknesses of both printed and digital books, Rex Education has made it its responsibility to offer as many options as it can to match the varying needs of the students—both printed and digital. 

“As schools implement different models of distance learning, it is important for us to be more inclusive and flexible in providing access to quality and relevant learning materials. Since schools may be serving students with different setups at home or even from different locations, providing the option of both digital and printed books makes it easier for students to choose which learning material suits their needs,” said Don Timothy Buhain, chief executive officer of Rex Education. “Rex Education believes that quality education should be accessible to every Filipino Whole Learner—and that is what we always strive to achieve in every printed and digital book that we create.” 

To date, Rex Education has made available a wide suite of printed books and e-books on its digital bookstore to make quality education more accessible to all. Parents, educators, and students can now conveniently browse and shop Rex Education’s huge lineup of learning solutions in print or digital format through