For the past year certain universities have been trying to teach with the Kindle. Experimental classes have been ongoing. Electronic versions are typically around half the price of traditional printed textbooks.
Amazon’s kindle is selling well. Not only are the kindle’s selling well but according to Jeff Bezos, “Millions of people now own Kindles, and Kindle owners read, a lot. When we have both editions, we sell 6 Kindle books for every 10 physical books.”
As students and professors have found, there are many benefits to using the Kindle:
• Cheaper textbooks
• Built-in dictionaries
• Less books to carry
• Students can bring all textbooks to class, no matter how many are assigned
• Makes sense for online classes
• Better for the environment
• Publishers put out new versions each year, making the old ones obsolete
• New Kindle has larger screen which makes textbooks easier to read
However, there are a few drawbacks:
• Kindle books don’t have page numbers
• Margins are smaller for taking notes
• May be able to be pirated
• Can’t be resold
Some electronic textbooks are the same as printed books. However, some allow students to share their notes online while others automatically grade homework. Others allow students to listen to a professor’s recorded lecture that corresponds with the chapter. For online students this will be a huge help. Some textbook publishers are even working with online classroom software such as Blackboard to incorporate all of these things together.
Some textbooks are even available to be read on the iPhone’s Kindle app.
It looks like the benefits far outweigh the drawbacks. Of course, if everyone has their Kindle open in the classroom it will be impossible to tell whether they are reading the assigned text or finishing their latest novel.
And with the iPad fresh on the scene who knows what will happen?