They should, but then how on earth would the textbook publishing industry survive? No one is going to pay $300 for an e-book. Not the way they're forced to do so for a new college textbook. And that publishing industry has a lot of sway at universities, so don't expect much change any time soon.
Nowadays, virtually all college have access to computers in some way or other, so this would probably even be a preferred way to read course content. It would certainly put a dent in environmental costs of publishing textbooks. The costs of physical textbooks is outrageous, and I'm sure students would like the ease of not toting textbooks around campus. The ever popular MOOCS have shown that entire courses can be done online with the use of online materials, so I don't see why colleges should not do the same.
Textbook costs are sky high. Utilizing eboooks instead of
old fashioned physical books will allow students to spend less money on their
education. At the same time, ebooks will save trees and other resources. Ebooks
are easier to revise, and quicker to publish, too, so students will gain access
to the most recent advances in knowledge. Finally, ebooks will take up less space in the
college bookstore and in a student’s apartment. Electronic publishing offers savings
Then there is the argument that we are becoming to dependent on the Internet. We all are pretty sure the grid will get knocked off line one day by some massive asteroid or a solar flare. Everything is so expensive related to education that e-books could save students bit of money. For now, I think it is a good idea.
I do not think that colleges should utilize e-textbooks rather than real books. I think that a lot of people would rather not be looking at a computer screen most of the time when doing their assignments. I also think that some people would like the ability to study their subjects without being near a computer.