Amazon launches the Kindle Owners’ Lending Library

Amazon took another step toward pulling its hardware and digital content into an increasingly tight package on Wednesday when it announced the launch of the Kindle Owners’ Lending Library, Digital Trends reports. As its name suggests, the new service, which allows users to borrow one digital book per month, is open to anyone with a Kindle device, such as its popular Kindle e-reader, or its soon-to-be-released Kindle Fire tablet. Users must also be a member of the Amazon Prime service, which costs $79 a year and offers access to almost 13,000 movies and TV shows, together with free two-day shipping for goods purchased from its online store…

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Amazon shuts down eBook loans via Lendle

Since Amazon gave Kindle users the ability to loan their eBooks in December, we’ve seen a number of startups launch in the eBook lending space, creating networks to help readers find someone who is willing to let them borrow an eBook title, says ReadWriteWeb. There haven’t been any moves to crack down on these exchanges (other than the requirement that the Kindle Lending Club rebrand). But now it appears that Amazon has shut down one such site, Lendle. The company’s website went down briefly today, and Lendle tweeted that Amazon has revoked its access to the API…

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E Ink, maker of Kindle display, to offer color

Up until now, people who have bought e-readers have had to make a compromise: either read in color on a highly reflective screen, or read in shades of gray on a display that’s easy to make out even outdoors. E Ink Corp., the company that makes the black-and-white display for Amazon.com Inc.’s Kindle, said it will begin selling screens that also show colors, reports the Associated Press. The new technology, called E Ink Triton, displays 16 shades of gray, along with thousands of colors. As with other E Ink displays, people should be able to read it anywhere without having to squint. Amazon did not immediately respond to inquiries Tuesday on whether that means a color Kindle is coming. Amazon has said that although it hasn’t ruled out color E Ink displays, the technology isn’t yet ready for prime time…

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iPad pilots launching in higher ed this fall

More than 100 OSU students will test the iPad in the fall.
More than 100 Oklahoma State University students will test the iPad in the fall.

Educators say there’s a simple reason they believe the Apple iPad pilot programs coming to colleges and universities this fall will run smoother than previous trials with popular eReaders: the apps.

Sprawling research university campuses and rural community colleges alike will test the iPad in small groups when students return to school in August and September, evaluating how learning can be improved using a device that has proven popular among 20-somethings who were avid about Apple products even before the iPad was released in April.

University IT departments launched pilot programs for eReaders like the Amazon Kindle and Kindle DX in 2008 and 2009, but student and faculty surveys showed that traditional textbooks were preferred over the eReader devices.…Read More

Not everyone ready for the digital textbook revolution

Nine out of 10 students said they would recommend the Kindle as a "personal reading device."
Nine out of 10 Darden School of Business students said they would recommend the Kindle as a "personal reading device," though only 2 of 10 would recommend it for class readings.

Don’t let the iPhones and BlackBerries fool you: Research and a recent pilot program that put eReaders in college students’ hands suggest that most students aren’t ready to read their textbooks electronically, despite the proliferation of internet-ready mobile devices on campuses nationwide.

In fact, 74 percent of students surveyed by the National Association of College Stores (NACS), a nonprofit trade organization representing 3,000 campus retailers, preferred printed textbooks for their college classes.

The study, released May 25, also found that more than half of college students surveyed on 19 campuses said they “were unsure about purchasing digital textbooks or would not consider buying them even if they were available.”…Read More

University library sees demand for Kindles soar

Oregon State undergraduates have flocked to the library's Kindle rental program.
Oregon State undergraduates have flocked to the library's Kindle loaner program.

For students looking to temper sober textbook readings with a literary escape into the world of vampires and zombies, Oregon State University is loaning out Amazon Kindle electronic readers stocked with the latest in popular books.

The Corvallis, Ore.-based university has found it too expensive to fill its Valley Library shelves with fiction and nonfiction books that students would read for fun, not homework assignments or upcoming exams. So in November, the university began lending Kindle eReaders to students and faculty willing to part from traditional page flipping and embrace a technology being tested on campuses nationwide.

The immediate demand for the electronic books forced Valley Library officials to alter Kindle policies created by a campus task force last summer.…Read More

Can Apple’s tablet spark a textbook revolution?

Educators expect the Apple tablet screen to be much larger than the iPhone display.
Educators expect the Apple tablet screen to be much larger than the iPhone display.

Can the release of Apple’s eReader tablet do for textbooks what the iPod did for music: combine an online store for purchasing books with sleek hardware that holds every text a student needs?

That’s the question many educators are asking as anticipation of Apple’s new tablet mounts.

Apple CEO Steve Jobs is widely expected to unveil his company’s eReader Jan. 27 in San Francisco, and industry insiders expect the product to have a large touch screen that is smaller than a laptop screen but larger than an iPhone.…Read More

The top higher-ed tech stories of 2009: No. 1

Amazon's Kindle has the power to transform education.
Does Amazon's Kindle have the power to transform education?

Schools’ use of digital textbooks began before 2009, but it was a watershed year for this emerging trend in higher education: Inspired by the introduction of a Kindle electronic reader designed specifically for textbooks, several colleges and universities announced pilot projects to see how well the technology meets students’ needs.

This fall, at least five colleges and universities began piloting Amazon’s Kindle DX electronic reading device, which is designed specifically for reading textbooks.

The Kindle DX, unveiled during a May 6 press conference at Pace University in New York, sports a 9.7-inch screen, compared to the 6-inch screen on the original Kindle. It also features a built-in QWERTY keyboard for note taking. The handheld reader will let users read magazines, newspapers, and textbooks complete with images and graphics. Users also can read PDF files on the Kindle DX–a selling point for faculty members whose courses regularly assign class readings on PDF files.…Read More

The top higher-ed tech stories of 2009: No. 1

Amazon's Kindle has the power to transform education.
Does Amazon's Kindle have the power to transform education?

Schools’ use of digital textbooks began before 2009, but it was a watershed year for this emerging trend in higher education: Inspired by the introduction of a Kindle electronic reader designed specifically for textbooks, several colleges and universities announced pilot projects to see how well the technology meets students’ needs.

This fall, at least five colleges and universities began piloting Amazon’s Kindle DX electronic reading device, which is designed specifically for reading textbooks.

The Kindle DX, unveiled during a May 6 press conference at Pace University in New York, sports a 9.7-inch screen, compared to the 6-inch screen on the original Kindle. It also features a built-in QWERTY keyboard for note taking. The handheld reader will let users read magazines, newspapers, and textbooks complete with images and graphics. Users also can read PDF files on the Kindle DX–a selling point for faculty members whose courses regularly assign class readings on PDF files.…Read More