University library sees demand for Kindles soar

Princeton University students and faculty who were surveyed after the school’s pilot program ended last month said they appreciated the portability of the Kindle DX, and the fact that it greatly reduced the printing and photocopying they did for their courses. But they said they missed the ability to highlight text directly, take notes, and flip back and forth through pages of their textbook easily.

About 65 percent of the participants in the Princeton pilot said they would not buy another eReader now if theirs was broken. Almost all the participants said they were interested in following the technology to its next stages, however, because they think a device that works well in academia would be worth having.

The things students liked best about the Kindle DX included its battery life, the wireless connection, and the portability of the e-Reader device; the fact that all the course reading was on one device; the ability to search for content; and the readability of the screen, including the fact it could be read in full sunlight.

Oregon State launched a web site last year explaining what the Kindle was, how students and faculty could borrow the device, and loaner rules. The site includes links to lists of eBooks—there were 57 titles as of March 1—that can be read with the library’s Kindles, and an online form for students and professors to join the growing waiting list.

Despite the immediate popularity of the university’s Kindle program, Oregon State officials said digital rights issues would prevent eBooks from replacing traditional books any time soon.

“It’s the obvious place for eBooks to go, but right now there isn’t a good platform for it,” said Anne-Marie Deitering, the university’s Franklin McEdward professor for undergraduate learning initiatives, who is part of the team looking into the Kindle program.

Material from the Associated Press was used in this report.


Oregon State University Kindle site