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Amazon Kindle fails test at Bezos alma mater

University students dump on e-reader

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The Kindle DX may be dominating the e-book market, but it's not winning hearts with the education crowd. The device has received the cold shoulder even at Amazon chief Jeff Bezos' own alma mater, Princeton University.

Just a few weeks into the school year, students testing the device in a pilot program with Princeton U say the Kindle falls short of traditional textbooks.

"I hate to sound like a Luddite, but this technology is a poor excuse for an academic tool," Aaron Horvath, a 21-year-old senior, told the school newspaper, The Daily Princetonian. Horvath is among 50 students in three different courses testing the Kindle as a means to save paper. "It's clunky, slow and a real pain to operate," he added.

Horvath's primary complaint is the inability to physically interact with the course material, such as making margin notes, highlighting text, or making marks showing the importance of certain passages.

"All these things have been lost, and if not lost they're too slow to keep up with my thinking, and the 'features' have been rendered useless," he said.

Professor Stan Katz, who teaches Horvath's class in the pilot program, had a similar complaint.

"I have all of my books marked up," Katz said. "Either I use my own annotations, or take the time, an immense amount of time" to annotate using the Kindle.

While some complimented the idea of having a huge amount of text in one small device, others say the experience isn't as easy and "organic" as working with paper.

Katz also mentioned he doesn't have much incentive to move his annotations to the Kindle because he heard a rumor that Princeton won't use the Kindle next year. Looks like Amazon has some work ahead to try and convince the university otherwise. ®

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