Amazon Kindle flunked by college students
Text books aren't book books
Amazon's Kindle DX is flunking out of college.
Amazon distributed Kindle DXs to students at a number of US colleges, then solicited their feedback. What they discovered was that students don't read textbooks, they use textbooks. And a traditional hard-copy textbook is more usable — it's easier and more intuitive to thumb through, search, and scribble on than an ebook.
One interesting stat from the survey puts the results in clear perspective: 80 per cent of MBA students at the University of Viginia said they wouldn't recommend the Kindle DX as a study aid — but 90 per cent enjoyed using it to read for pleasure.
In other words, students found the Amazonian e-reader to be great for linear reading, but lousy for back-and-forth, search-and-find, "where was that bit?" studying and reference.
Other students, according to the Seattle Times, liked the Kindle DX's long battery life and portability, along with the fact that putting a book on it doesn't require the death of a tree. However, they weren't jazzed by the inability to scribble notes onto it or easily highlight snippets, nor did they appreciate the lack of color in an ebook's charts and graphics.
If Amazon's Kindle DX experiment is any guide, Apple's iPad should fare no better with students. It adds color to the ebook mix, but it's marginally heavier than the Kindle DX, doesn't allow notation, and although its 10-hour battery life is decent, it's far less than that of the Kindle DX — and frisky college students have been known to be away from their recharger-equipped dorm rooms for multiple successive nights. ®
No one reads computer eBooks for exactly the same reason. They are hopeless to flip backwards and forwards in. I also have CD versions of out-of-print guides on entomology with extensive identification keys they are very inconvenient indeed.
I would like to see how you iBrick\Kindle Whatever
stands up to being thrown across a room in frustration
My 'SGML in a nutshell' had no difficulties. Books are a beautiful thing and perfectly designed for what they do. Communicate information in a Linear and Non-Linear way. They need no batteries and no license.
Have you finished your project yet? Sure weeks ago. Have you? No I couldn't get the book out of the Library. Here borrow my book.
Have you read the new Stephen King Book? No. Is it any good? Brilliant. Can I borrow it? No because that would be an infringement of the license and criminal offence for which I could be cut off from the internet and my family persecuted. Ohh alright then here... opps Amazon must have heard us and withdrawn the book from my Kindle. Sorry mate. Can I have my book back Amazon? NO! and be grateful we don't prosecute you for attempted Copyright infringement you pirate!.
Hey I have a good idea let's re-invent the wheel so we can make more money out of it and the consumer gets less. This wheel will be digital! You can't get rounder than that. It's a massive improvement on what we had before.
Digital: Charging you more for less.
It is a venerable tradition to bring most of your textbooks back to the bookshop on the last day of the year and sell them back. It is also the only way to reduce the red ink on your account and pay at least some of the bills for some (was for me at least) and the way to get some dosh for a last night alcohol binge for others.
Kindle and their ilk are deliberately designed to relieve the user of the option of selling back his book or giving it to someone. That may be good enough for "mature professional" audience which does not plan to sell each and every one of their books 8 months after they buy them. Definitely not good enough for a college student.
It is not surprising that the students have openly demonstrated that they are not stupid and can add and subtract.
XML in a nutshell
"You put the name of the data item in the tags around the data item. "
I'm sure I could put that on a piece of paper that weighs less than a Kindle.
Let's have a race. A Kindle, an iPad and my copy of "XML in a nutshell". Let's see which one runs out of power first. :o)
I still think, to a large extent, these tablets are an answer looking for a problem. I am sure some people will find them very useful and fnabois will wax lyrical about how they will save civilisation as we know it, but like the Segway, they will remain niche/luxury products for a long time.