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Wednesday, September 16, 2009

Initial student reactions to Kindle DX pilot

A recent article from The Chronicle of Higher Education discusses some of the initial reactions from students participating in the Kindle DX textbook pilot at Arizona State University. The article reports that most of the feedback has been positive but the lack of page numbers on the Kindle texts can make it difficult to locate a certain page or passage during class. Each passage in the text is given a location number but the numbers can be long and must be typed on the keyboard leaving room for error. One student also expressed concern about using the keyboard to take notes while another student commented that their favorite Kindle feature is the built-in dictionary. In addition, two students dropped the class at the beginning of the semester when they realized they would be participating in the Kindle pilot.

The article notes that this could be a big year for digital because of the Kindle pilot and also because this is the first semester that textbook publishers have made a large amount of their titles available in the digital format. Publishers are also working to find out more about student content preferences. For example, CourseSmart has begun working with some college stores to promote the digital option and Facebook groups have been organized so that students can share their personal experiences with e-books. The increased availability of digital course materials this semester and interest in student preferences could help boost digital sales which currently account for up to 3 percent of the market (depending on how you calculate the percentage).

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