Negative Feedback From Students Give Kindle A Reality Check

Posted: May 26 2010, 3:09pm CDT | by , Updated: Aug 11 2010, 9:20pm CDT, in News | Hot Gadgets

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The Kindle DX was created with college students in mind: an alternative to bulky textbooks that were difficult to search through. But guess what? It turns out students actually like those bulky textbooks after all.
Amazon created a pilot program wherein students on select college campuses received a Kindle DX, which normally retails for around $500, for free - in exchange for feedback about how well it worked as a textbook replacement.

It sure seemed like a good idea. And in fact, hundreds if not thousands of textbooks are available on the Kindle Store. It allows users to get their books at a cheaper price, all on one lightweight device, and because it's digital, students can search for specific words or phrases.

But apparently Amazon got a big dose of reality from this experiment, as the feedback was resoundingly non-stellar. According to the Seattle Times, students found the Kindle to have the exact opposite effect. They said it was more difficult to find stuff, harder to flip through pages, and difficult to make notes or highlights.

"You don't read textbooks in the same linear way as a novel. You have to flip back and forth between pages, and the Kindle is too slow for that. Also, the bookmarking function is buggy," said one student in the newspaper article.

It also reported that an astounding 80% of students at the University of Virginia who participated in the program would not recommend the Kindle DX as a textbook substitute.

Perhaps the DX could work as a textbook complement, providing a more digitized way to search through textbooks that students also own in print...but that would be for the snobby elite.

I guess it just goes to show that something can seem really cool, conceptually, but just fail when it's actually put to practical use.

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