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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Comments (6)
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  • Stan Talamantes says:

    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.

  • Alex Levy says:

    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.

  • azeddine says:

    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.

  • Larry Velez says:

    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.

  • D Ray East says:

    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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