As most semesters approach, I get several emailed questions asking (politely) if I'm okay with students using e texts in my classes. This is especially common with Shakespeare.
I hate them using etexts for Shakespeare.
First, they want to use the totally free etexts, which seem based on 19th century editions (they're free because they're long out of copyright). But they don't really get any information about the 19th century editions, which often come with no glossing, no line numbers, and editing choices that made sense in the 19th century, but which are very different from the choices editors make now.
So there's always that delay of a few seconds while the etext folks try to figure out where we are based on asking someone to read them a line. (Thus, everyone with regular texts looks, finds the line, and then the etext people start doing their search thing. And we hope that the line is the same.)
Second, I think they should write in their Shakespeare texts so that when they study, they see the notes they've written, and it reminds them how to read those lines or that scene. Within their lifetimes, that same Shakespeare text should be pretty good, so if they choose to keep it, they may glance at it again, and the marginalia they've put in will help them remember stuff. (I know not all students keep the texts, but I know some do. English majors tend to like books.) That makes Shakespeare (and other lit, for example) very different from, say, Genetics textbooks. But notetaking in e readers looks clumsy, and the likelihood is that they won't have easy access to that text/reader in ten years. They won't, I don't think, pick up the play and reread it the way folks pick up books on their shelves. (And worse, their future dates won't be able to tell what they read by a glance at their shelves from the couch.)
How do you folks feel about e texts?
Do non-English fields, say Chemistry, or Econ, need students to bring the text to class meetings? (I honestly don't remember taking my texts to most classes, though I was a pretty obedient student.)