Saturday, August 23, 2008

The Kindle college edition

The Silicon Valley Insider as an article on Kindle sales, and this piece on the often whispered about student version: Amazon: Kindle Isn't *That* Big A Hit; College Edition In The Works:

There are a bunch of hurdles to getting it right -- the reader would have to be designed to accomodate students' needs, and publishers would have to be willing to change their pricing structure -- but if Amazon can pull it off, the Kindle on campus is a no-brainer.

Am I the only person who thinks it will be the students getting screwed in this deal? Goodbye secondary book market. Goodbye open-content textbooks. Hello lock-in. Just a feeling, but it's not like we haven't been down this path before.

6 comments:

Bud said...

Has Kindle really been a good deal for anybody? I just don't get it.

I'm less enamored of the secondary book market. To me, it implies the book wasn't worth it. Well, why not go for cheaper, more relevant books to begin with. Or, just don't use a book.

Kevin Gamble said...

I haven't taught in several years, but the last couple of classes I taught were graduate courses and we didn't use textbooks either. We did lots of reading of research literature. Not sure if that would be current enough for me today.

Maybe I'm an idealist, but to me we should be going all-in for open-content textbooks.

Adam said...

The Kindle would help to minimize the large amounts of paper waste generated every year on college campuses caused by "course readers" (hundreds of pages per course) that could just as easily be sent to students in a PDF and put on the Kindle. The only disadvantage to this would be that students would not be able to highlight sections. Amazon should market a touch-sensitive version to college students that would "highlight" sections for them. Also, if during the course of a class, the instructor wanted students to read a new article, research journal, etc. it could be sent out and updated on the Kindle without more paper waste.

Bud said...

Why not just put it on the web? That's what I do.

Adam said...

Two words: eye strain. Reading a lot of pages on a computer screen, especially over the course of a semester, really starts to add up. The Kindle has the benefit of "e-ink" (read: no eye strain) and it is eco-friendly.

Bud said...

My cut is that ubiquity wins over quantity here. You have to pay more to just get the kindle, and it requires a special format.

All I do is work on the web. Had not considered eye strain. I have to admit, that in this mode, I'm reading many shorter things.

Books do beat online as a reading experience. In particular, the way things are organized spatially in a book helps me find things.