Chegg eReader Review: Pros and Cons of Chegg’s eBook Reader

As one of the biggest online retailers for textbooks, Chegg definitely has some serious standing in the industry. The company has been working hard to develop new features and services for its audience and joined the ereader market with their very own Chegg eReader some years ago. The Chegg eReader app is available for mobile devices in the Apple App Store for iOS devices as well as on Google Play.

The Chegg eReader can be a great alternative or complement to hardcopy textbooks. But like any app, the Chegg eReader app has both advantages and drawbacks. Read on for a full Chegg eReader review as well as how it works and its standout features.

Overview of the Chegg eReader App

There is plenty of information out there about this new tool, but it can be hard to gather the facts and come up with an accurate assessment regarding its effectiveness and capabilities. This review will help users to better understand the Chegg eReader and what it has to offer, as well as how it stacks up to the competition.

The Chegg eReader App: An Introduction

Years ago, when the Chegg eReader originally came out, it was an HTML5-based ereader for digital textbook rental that you could access through a typical internet browser. Over the years, the Chegg eReader has expanded to mobile app form, which is available for Mac iOS devices like iPhones and iPads, as well as an app for Google Play so non-iOs mobile devices can use it too. You can still access your eTextbooks on an internet browser at Chegg.com, under the My Books section.

To download the Chegg eReader, users go to their app store and download it for free. If it’s your first time downloading the Chegg eReader app, you’ll notice two buttons at the bottom you can click on: Library and More. If you haven’t used the app before, or Chegg in general, you’ll have one book in My Library named “College Success: Experience the eReader”, an ebook 434 pages long, not including the Appendix section.

This ebook provides a detailed overview of how to achieve success in college, covering a wide range of very useful topics. These include chapters on:

  • Learning about yourself as a student and learner, matching these qualities to the right way to manage time and priorities, as well as your academic pathway

  • Tips on reader and taking notes; strategies for studying, memory, and test taking; lessons in various forms of thinking, such as analytical thinking, critical thinking, creative thinking, problem solving, and more

  • Understanding civility and cultural competence, financial literacy, and engaging in a healthy lifestyle

  • Planning for your future

Besides the Library, the Chegg eReader’s other section More contains sections to give feedback, for device management, access other Chegg services such as Chegg Study, as well as help and information about the app.

Chegg eReader vs. Chegg Study

It’s important to note: You don’t actually buy and download eTextbooks in the Chegg eReader app. The app is merely the library of the ebooks you have bought or rented from Chegg.com. Equally important, the Chegg Study mobile app — accessible from the Chegg eReader app or at the app store — allows you to add courses; provides study tools like finding and creating flash cards; post questions and even take a picture of a problem you have; take practice tests and scan barcodes for textbook solutions. However, the Chegg Study app also doesn’t allow you to buy or rent eTextbooks directly.

After users take a few minutes to set up their accounts on Chegg.com, you can then search for textbooks and add courses to your account. You’ll also have the option to sign up for Chegg Study. They offer a four-week free trial. After that, there are two types of subscriptions to Chegg Study:

  • Chegg Study: $14.95 per month and offers homework help.

  • Chegg Study Pack: $19.95 per month and offers homework help, quiz and exam help, math help, and writing help.

However, a subscription to Chegg Study is not required to get eTextbooks; it’s merely an additional optional service.

Adding eTextbooks to the Chegg eReader

In order to add eTextbooks to the Chegg eReader, go Chegg.com, where you’ll see a search bar where you can search for books, homework solutions, or practice texts. Along the left-side, there’s a navigation bar that includes:

  • Home

  • Study tools

  • My courses

  • My books

  • My folder

  • Career

  • Life

You’ll also find buttons under the search bar providing options for:
  • Expert Q&A

  • Practice tests

  • Flashcards

  • Plagiarism and grammar checker

  • Citations

  • Expert proofreading

  • Math solver

Finally, to the right of these buttons are the most important sections:
  • My courses: Where you can add courses that you’re taking.

  • My books: Where you can search and add the textbooks you’re looking for.

To add eTextbooks, either search it in the search bar or click on “+Add textbook” under “My books”. You can search for the textbook you want by author, title, or ISBN number (International Standard Book Number, a unique 10- or 13-digit number assigned to all published books that identifies them). When you’ve found the textbook you’re looking for, you can rent or buy the physical hardcopy textbook, or — essential for using the Chegg eReader — rent or buy the eTextbook version. The rental periods for an eTextbook are monthly, 90 days, 120 days, or 180 days. When you buy or rent the eTextbook, you have the ability to access it on all connected devices, search and highlight directly in the eTextbook, and get a 14-day refund guarantee.

Once you pay for your eTextbook rental (out outright purchase it), the textbook will be added to your library on the web browser version at Chegg.com and in your Chegg eReader mobile app (you may have to do a quick open-and-close of the app to update your library).

Chegg eReader Review: Pros and Cons

The Chegg eReader has a lot of useful features, including its accessibility. The Chegg eReader can be viewed on an internet browser and in your iOS or Google Play app. The interface of both the web browser and mobile app versions are easy-to-use and clear. It shares many useful straightforward features one can find in ebook platforms like Google Play or Kindle, while at the same time providing education-related features that those others lack, like being able to search Chegg for solutions to problems in the eTextbook you’re reading. Let’s first look at the pros of the Chegg eReader.

Benefits and Pros of Chegg eReader

Both the internet browser and mobile app versions have a Table of Contents tab, though on the web browser version it conveniently appears onscreen side-by-side with the pages of the eTextbook; on the mobile Chegg eReader app, opening the Table of Contents takes up the whole screen, so you can’t see the textbook at the same time, but this is a minor drawback.

Along with the table of contents tab, you have a tab for Highlights, where you can see any text you highlighted in the book along with the chapter and page number you do it on; the Highlights tab also allows you to write notes about the section you highlighted. There’s also a Bookmarks tab, which contains all the bookmarks you’ve made (by clicking on the bookmark icon in the top-right corner of the screen) throughout the book, making it easy to navigate back to different sections of the eTextbook.

What’s great about the Highlights and Bookmarks tabs is that, once you make a highlight or bookmark a section, they are recorded in both the web browser version of the eTextbook and in the mobile app version too. This is very convenient and great for consistency. However, on the web browser Chegg eReader, you may have to click out of the book in order for it to update and show the highlights and bookmarks you made in the mobile app version — it’s not instantaneous, but it will still update to maintain consistency across both platforms within seconds.

Other features such as zoom, where users can pick font size with an actual button rather than a sliding bar, are very visual and make sure that you can't accidentally hit something. There is also the search feature, where you can type in a term or keyword, and search the eTextbook for all the pages it appears on, which you can then click on and directly go to the relevant page.

All in all, the Chegg eReader is arguably the best textbook ereader for college, not in small part because Chegg was one of the pioneers in the field. The Chegg eReader even aesthetically looks cleaner than many other non-textbook-specific ereaders available out there. There are a few drawbacks, however, which we’ll look at now.

Drawbacks and Cons of Chegg eReader

Perhaps the main, though increasingly less relevant, drawback is that users must have internet access. This can be limiting in some situations, but fortunately in today's always-on society, it isn't as big of a deal as it used to be.

There are also people who note the lack of flashy, dynamic features in the Chegg eReader, but that's precisely the point if you ask Chegg. It's not about which program has the most flashy, sparkly features. It's about which program gets the job done and provides you with a useful tool, and the Chegg eReader does that very well.

One con of the Chegg eReader is the zoom feature. On the internet browser version, you cannot manually type in a zoom percentage. Instead, you only have the options of 25%, 50%, 70%, 85%, or 100%. And, depending on the book, 70%, 80%, and 100% can be way too close, not allowing much text to appear on the page. On the other hand, the difference between choosing 25% and 50% is often big, with 25% making the page and text very small. Similarly, in the mobile Chegg eReader app, there is no zoom button where you can adjust by percentages. Instead, you have to spread your fingers to zoom in, which sometimes works but other times zooms in only to then revert back to its original view. It often takes a few tries to zoom in and keep it at the zoom you want.

Another annoyance in the mobile Chegg eReader app is that sometimes the highlight feature won’t stick. For instance, you may highlight a section of text, click on the color highlight you want, but then it will fail to highlight the section. There’s no rhyme or reason for why it will versus when it won’t work. Fortunately, the internet browser version of the Chegg eReader doesn’t seem to have this highlighting issue.

Besides these few annoyances, overall, the cons of Chegg eReader app aren’t too bad. Plus, the ability for highlights, notes, and bookmarks to be recorded in the mobile app and carry over to the web browser version and vice versa is extremely useful and convenient.

The Bottom Line on the Chegg eReader

The reason that people like the Chegg eBook reader is because they like Chegg. They've worked with the company in other capacities, and they know what the brand is capable of. From textbooks to homework help, this website has a lot to offer. The introduction of the Chegg eReader was a natural step to take in their operations to make sure that they can keep up with their audience and the needs that students have in today's world.

What’s more, Chegg.com has a lot of useful features and tools for students well beyond renting or buying textbooks. Chegg has features to help you properly cite sources you utilized in papers or reports you’ve written, as well as check for grammar and plagiarism; they provide study tools, including posting questions you have, taking practice tests, finding and creating flashcards, solving math problems, and even expert proofreading. The Chegg eReader may not show off crazy features and tricks, but it's an excellent workhorse that provides students an alternative way to access their textbooks that is more convenient and affordable.