Tech savvy college students and campus librarians embrace Kindle as way of future for textbooks

The transition to electronic textbooks, once thought to the next big boon for publishers, is meeting with surprising resistance among students and professors. Studies conducted on the Kindle DX at business schools across the country showed an overwhelming–90%–support of the ereader by students for casual reading. However only the tech savvy “power users” embraced the device for academic work. Many students and their professors, used to highlighting text and making notes in the margins, were unable or unwilling to use  Kindle DX’s annotation functions. But they may be forced to catch up.

With their relative low cost, electronic textbooks are an inevitable part of higher education’s future. Not withstanding the initial purchase price, the cost storing and maintaining electronic books is less than half that of paper books. Campus librarians have already foreseen the death of the traditional library. Rather than a storehouse for large numbers of paper volumes, the library of the not-too-distant future will be place for students to use their laptops to access the college’s digital collections.

Technology aside, there are immediate benefits that are impossible to overlook. It’s easier to haul a Kindle than the hundreds of pounds of books and study materials it replaces. Even considering the initial cost of the device, it can save money on text book costs. And it’s greener on the environment, an important consideration for academics. Lev Gonick, vice president of information technology services at Case Western Reserve, likened the resistance to ebooks to that seen with any new technology. College students, recognized for their trend setting nature, will soon become converts.

3 thoughts on “Tech savvy college students and campus librarians embrace Kindle as way of future for textbooks

  1. I have looked at many ereaders and few OEMs understand what a scholar/student needs for tools/Gui. There is a 1k year old workflow ereaders just don’t get: reading scholarly books is an interactive process using annotation heavily. Read “How to read a book.” Kindle fails to support that process. And that work flow means grabbing direct quotes, which Publishers are unwilling to allow! I want a kindle thats for a scholar! Often many of those creating/designing ereaders seem not have written a serious paper. ;-) Prove me wrong…
    As for textbook prices, ha ha your dreaming if you think publishers will lower their prices, look at the battle for non-scholarly book prices now!

  2. I’m using the kindle dx to read technical papers in the form of pdfs. It is pretty annoying indeed that it is impossible to take notes or even rename the bookmarks in a pdf file. Yet, it is so useful not to have to print all these papers and to be able to carry them around all the time that I find it still a great investment.

    Hopefully there will be a new generation of ereaders which will truely replace paper, ie with a touch screen and the ablility to write on it.

    The little trouble is that the companies making ereaders do it to sell ebooks, so they don’t have a real interest making such an ereader. But I’m sure it will come.

  3. I can’t understand why the dictionary and annotation functions are unavailable for kindle. These are some basic function in other e-readers. We can search the word we want in pdf, but we can’t use dictionary? This is really disappointing! I’ve write a feedback letter to kindle-feedback, they’ve just replied me that they will forward my opinion to their team. I encourage all of the kindle user, especially those in scientific works and fight for endless pdf articles, send your opinion about pdf support to kindle-feedback. I don’t know they will listen to us or not, but at least we can know if Amazon is a company as they had said.

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