One of my two freshman composition courses draws heavily on Victorian fiction, short and otherwise. Because several of the relevant texts are scattered widely (and wildly) across multiple anthologies or are simply unavailable in anything resembling print, I'm using more e-texts than usual--an approach frequently recommended as a way to cut costs.
1. Obviously, less expense for the students.
2. Many rare texts that would be otherwise inaccessible can now be taught. Moreover, the online format partly solves the never-ending problem of keeping non-canonical texts in print.
3. In some ways, e-texts are more convenient. Students can print out single stories, store them on their own computers, or simply access them at the site; moreover, new utilities like Zotero allow electronic markup.
4. The search function makes it easier for students to track a word (e.g., "light" in Frankenstein) through a given text, or do comparisons across multiple texts.
1. While print anthologies frequently fall prey to that dreaded monster, Hypertypoitis, e-texts seem even more prone to this dread disease (with additional formatting glitches into the bargain).
2. Even when the e-texts are free of typos, for which we give due thanks, they are also frequently free of annotation. For scholars or well-grounded readers, this is not necessarily a problem. Freshmen, however, are another matter.
3. Some sites (e.g., HorrorMasters) do not allow PDF files of public domain texts to be printed or copied, which makes them difficult to use in a classroom context. (I understand making recent work off-limits, but Horace Walpole?) Presumably, to get around this, the instructor either gets out the electronic projector or asks the students to lug their laptops to class (which requires students with laptops). Or, of course, assumes that the siteowner doesn't want their texts used that way in the first place, and looks somewhere else.
4. What on earth am I looking at? More sites (e.g., Romantic Circles) are now identifying and justifying their choice of copytext, but in some cases, the copytext appears to be whatever came to hand. (This is a problem with GoogleBooks, where nothing is "edited" in the first place.)
5. Given that public domain materials are the order of the day, e-texts of translated works frequently rely on out-of-date translations, some of which may be bowdlerized or just no longer readable.