Kindle Experiment Falls Flat at Princeton

Last fall, Princeton launched a small experiment, replacing traditional textbooks with the Kindle DX, Amazon’s large e-book reader. Almost from the beginning, the 50 students participating in the pilot program expressed dissatisfaction with the devices. Yesterday, a university report offered some more definitive findings. On the upside, students using the Kindle DX ended up using far less paper. (Paper consumption was generally reduced by 54%.) On the downside, students complained that the Kindle was fundamentally “ill-suited for class readings.” As one student put it:

I expected it to be a really useful tool that would enhance my experience, but it has hindered my studies in a lot of different ways… I wasn’t able to absorb the material as well as if I had hard copies of the readings, and I had to deal with a lot of technical inconveniences just from the design of the Kindle.

For more, give the Daily Princetonian a read.

via @jryoung



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by | Permalink | Comments (7) |

  • Stan Talamantes

    I was sorry to see that you chose to include only negative remarks in your article, and only links to other negative articles. The original article from Princeton trial gave some positives as well as the negatives; I urge anyone considering an ebook reader to read the complete source article before taking away just the information here as well as many other articles/reports/reviews that highlight both the good and the bad.

    It seems you’ve presented a biased report without the benefit of allowing your readers to come to their own conclusion based on both advantages and disadvantages. I’m glad there are also many other more credible, balanced reviews available; it’s clear to me you’re not a fan of the Kindle but apparently don’t trust your audience to make up their own minds. Disclaimer: I don’t yet own an ebook reader myself but have doing my own research and comparisons.

  • Dan Colman

    Stan,

    Let me add two quick thoughts in return:

    1) The Princeton article generally delivers the same message that I did in my very quick summary (which wasn’t trying to be comprehensive): The subtitle reads: “After one term of use, the devices failed to impress some students in pilot classes.” Another caption reads: “Three University classes used Kindles this term. Student reaction to the pilot program was mostly negative.” There is not really a mixed message here.

    2) I owned a Kindle for a while, and returned it. If I’m “biased,” it’s because I used the device and formed my own conclusions. Hard to beat that research.

    Regards,
    Dan

  • Alex Levy

    I’m on my 4th Kindle! Two broke and were replaced without a murmur by Amazon. The third just fell out of its case in a parking lot and was lost forever. I love my kindle for certain kinds of reading, particularly for fat books such as King’s “Under the Dome.” I also love reading outdoors with it. There are also money savings on books I really don’t want on my shelves and don’t mind on the Kindle. It has certain drawbacks indoors, requiring lots of light, although that may be improved by cataract surgery in a couple of weeks. E-books are a new technology, and there is bound to be some resistance, but books aren’t perfect either, such as size, storage problems, mold, etc.
    Alex

  • azeddine

    Hi dan

    I had exprerience with two device, the first buy was a sony prs-505 with a 6 inch eink screen, wich is useless for reading texbooks, the second was an irex digital reader 1000S with a 10 inch large screen mixed with a wacom tablet, the experience of reading texbooks in it is totally different, with the posibility to annotated the text with a stylet and to use a mibipocket dictionnary simply by sliding the stylet on the word you want to explain.

    the irex is an expensive and imperfect device , but I think is the best ebook prototype at this time.

  • http://sinu.com Larry Velez

    Can someone post a link to the original report, I would like to read the context of the quote used here.

    I have heard from others that they are having more trouble remembering books they read on e-readers. Might be because of the lack of richness in the reading experience.

    The book I am reading now is 700+ pages long and paperback. It broke apart in 4 places and keeping it together while I read it has become part of the reading experience which I think might add to the likelihood of me remembering details. The infinite variability of a printed page might be doing the same for others.

  • http://sinu.com Larry Velez

    Found it via search, sorry about that – http://www.princeton.edu/ereaderpilot/eReaderFinalReportLong.pdf

  • D Ray East

    Dan I sure am glad I missed your comments to begin with. Had I gone with what you had to say I would never have paid out ten cents to own a kindle. Now that I own a kindle. You could not buy mine from me for any amount of money. I would pony up a thousand dollars to own a kindle now that I have used one for more than ten minutes. Should you wish to take mine away from me bring a big stick and a sack lunch. You just do not have the co`jones to take mine from me. This is a case of I sure am glad you are so wrong in your negative assessment. Have college students become so ignorant of new things and Ideas. I realize most of them can not add or actually read. I mean that is a given My god do not ask them anything about history or geography. It was a given back in the 60′s that the reason many of those long haired boy’s and girl’s wore sandals was so they could count past ten. For the poor kids at Princeton Remember: Ignorance Breeds so please don’t you breed too. I sure hope that not all students of higher learning are quite so lost when it comes to the 3 R’s. dray

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