A NY Times Blog Green Inc. reported last week that six universities will test a Kindle text book plan this fall. The development was also reported in the Wall Street Journal last May: Amazon to Launch Kindle for Textbooks. From the WSJ article:
Beginning this fall, some students at Case Western Reserve
University in Cleveland will be given large-screen Kindles with
textbooks for chemistry, computer science and a freshman seminar
already installed, said Lev Gonick, the school’s chief information
officer. The university plans to compare the experiences of students
who get the Kindles and those who use traditional textbooks, he said.
has worked out a deal with several textbook publishers to make their
materials available for the device, Mr. Gonick added. The new device
will also feature a more fully functional Web browser, he said. The
Kindle’s current model, which debuted in February, includes a Web
browser that is classified as “experimental.”
Five other universities are involved in the Kindle project,
according to people briefed on the matter. They are Pace, Princeton,
Reed, Darden School at the University of Virginia, and Arizona State.
According to the NYT blog Case Western is testing the technology as a way to improve freshman success rates. Princeton, on the other hand, is testing the technology as a way to increase sustainability and reduce – even eliminate – the use of paper. The Darden School at the University of Virginia hopes to become “carbon neutral” and sees the Kindle as a tool to achieve this goal.
Wide spread adoption of an e-reader technology would have an enormous impact on the textbook industry – and on bookstores.
It would virtually eliminate the used textbook market.
It would substantially lighten a student’s backpack load – and as the primary book I use in two of the classes I often teach is 10.5 inches tall, 7 inches deep, and 3.25 inches wide (a real monster), this is not a “light” consideration. (And Scot’s students complain about big bibles … ha!)
On the other hand, I still use many of my old textbooks as resources and references. But the way technology changes and develops a Kindle book would likely be effectively useless within a decade.
What do you think? Are Kindle textbooks the way to go?