back to article Amazon Kindle fails test at Bezos alma mater

The Kindle DX may be dominating the e-book market, but it's not winning hearts with the education crowd. The device has received the cold shoulder even at Amazon chief Jeff Bezos' own alma mater, Princeton University. Just a few weeks into the school year, students testing the device in a pilot program with Princeton U say the …


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  1. bojennett

    I completely agree with Princeton here

    I so want to use the Kindle or a Kindle-like device for research. I really, really, really, really want to. And I might even be more capable of doing it than the students. The documentation I need to refer to is all on my hard drive as PDFs. Having them in one spot that doesn't take up screen real estate (so that I don't have to tab between it and whatever it is I'm working on) to be able to annotate on it, and to have them all where I can cross reference them, would be awesome.

    But the e-Ink technology and/or the processor/memory they are using in the current eBook readers can't cut it. It's just not there.

    Please, somebody solve this problem ;-)

  2. John Smith 19 Gold badge

    This just in.

    Students interact with text books in a *different* way to general readers reading fiction (not forgetting that for Eng. Lit students some general fiction is a text book to be studied).

    And in further breaking news.

    The sky is Blue.

    It's darker at night than during the day.

    The kindle is in concept more my idea of what a palm top should look and feel like. Especially the battery life. How could Psion manage that much on 2 AA's a decade and a half ago?

    But its a lot of money for not much.

  3. Gulfie

    Kindle = Fail

    Sorry, I won't buy an expensive device that only allows me to buy 'the right to read' a book, only gives me access to them on the Kindle platform, and doesn't allow me to lend it to my friends. Paper for me, much like the Princetown guys I annotate my technical books, and swap a lot of fiction with friends.

    Kindle is plain and simple a way for Amazon to stop us sharing and (hopefully for them) get more sales. I'm happy to pay, I'm no freetard, but this just doesn't work for me...

  4. Lee Morrell

    Amazon shot itself in the foot. Why?

    What was Amazon thinking? Even laptops/netbooks/tablets aren't ready to take on the textbook yet! Why would a new, limited technology even try!

    The current crop of ebook readers are only OK for reading novels in my opinion. Before they can be used for academic courses several things need to be incorporated...

    1, Larger, colour screen. 6 inch greyscale is not enough.

    2, Top notch touchscreen for notation.

    3, Better firmware to allow you to zip around inside the ebooks and find what you are looking for.

    I have seen a Demo Vid of something called Courier (by Microsoft?). That with slightly larger screens may work. Shame it is not even a working model. I doubt we'll ever see it.

  5. Alex Walsh

    e readers are... suited for reading books on. Just that, nothing more, nothing less really. Interactive text books and the like are well outside the prowess of e-ink based readers and if you buy one for that purpose, expect to be disappointed.

  6. Anonymous Coward


    Anyone who writes on or in a book is a heretic and should be burned until they jolly well learn not to do it again.

  7. John Mangan
    Thumb Down

    I'm a luddite!

    I love reading but I've never considered a reader for a number of reasons:

    - DRM, 'nuff said.

    - the ability to stick your finger between pages and flick back and forth rapidly

    - when reading a book the 'physical' memory of where you saw something (left or right page, near the front, etc.)

    - being able to read far from a charger.

    - being able to read if your 'reader' is broken

    - being able to read a book no matter what brand of reader you bought or whether it has gone 'out of stock/support.

    I have books that I bought 30 years ago that I can just pick up and read. how long can users rely on their readers maintaining the same formats?

    Yes, I would like the space saving and the weight reduction but the cost (and I don't mean the cash) is too high!

  8. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Save paper?

    "Kindle as a means to save paper."

    And if you work out the energy footprint of creating one of these and compariing it to that of creating a book of paper (remembering that you can plant a tree and get something new in short order), how well does it fare? (No, I wouldn't know where to start on this calc.)

    "Horvath's primary complaint is the inability to physically interact with the course material, such as making margin notes, highlighting text, or making marks showing the importance of certain passages."

    In other words, all the advantages of paper that we learned 30 years ago when making the same comparisons with microfiche. C'est la vie...

  9. pixel
    Thumb Down

    Re: Sacriledge

    Well said, I was going to post the exact same thought. Books are for reading, not for doodling on.

  10. Pat 4


    The Kindle is a still born piece of dung that nobody wants.

    Why drop that much money on something that's only a book reader, when you could get something like EReader for free and turn any smartphone into... a book reader?

    Most Kindles will eventually end up being only expensive paper weights...

  11. Martin Gregorie

    I'm with John Mangan

    I've thought about what I'd need to consult a reference book and none of the current devices have it. For starters it needs to have at least an A5 page display size with print-quality resolution. The device should be thin (5mm would be good) and, preferably, flexible. It should run for at least 24 hours between charges. This seems like a practical minimum battery life for the way such a device would be used.

    My ideal form factor would be two thin, hinged covers with protective outer surfaces and a touch-sensitive A4/A5 display on the inside of each. This would let me keep the 'current' page on one display while using short cuts to flip the other between contents, index and pages selected from the contents or index. Both displays must have page forward/backward controls, and also shortcuts to the start/end of the section and chapter. Swapping between books and magazines *must* set and retrieve bookmarks.

    Something that could do the above could probably handle any reading task well, specially if it supported hyper-linking in addition to the contents and indexes. Conversely, an e-reader that can't do all of the above is almost useless because it would be a pain to use.

    I suppose wireless connectivity might be nice, but I don't need it, especially if its always on to annoy me with ads and run up the comms bill. USB 3 will do nicely, thank you, particularly if issues of magazines I subscribe to and books etc that I buy are automatically delivered to my home server. I'd like the ability to keep a few reference books, a magazine and a novel in the e-reader, but would expect my main library to be on the home server, not the reader, so it doesn't need more than a gig or two of non-volatile memory.

    I'm happy to buy a worthwhile reader and to pay for content I need, so I *don't* want to see content I didn't ask for, especially ads.

  12. Graham Bartlett

    Not just for reading a single book either

    If you're doing any significant work, you need to be able to cross-reference a whole bunch of things at once. Try doing that with a single screen the size of an A5 sheet with a 1s refresh rate. Hell, it's hard enough doing it on a PC with dual screens, never mind on a piddly little thing like that.

    I've always been a firm believer in the power of a truly paperless workplace, and when someone can give me a 6'x3' touchscreen LCD display with 150dpi resolution, I'll gladly use it instead of the multiple books and printouts on my desk. Until then, my employer has a choice between paperlessness or productivity.

    The Terminator icon, because I've probably got more chance of seeing one of them...

  13. B 9

    Somewhat erroneous article

    The statement "The Kindle DX may be dominating the e-book market" is not true. iPhone/iPod touch are the leaders by a huge margin.

    Cue the Haters!

  14. Anonymous Coward

    Kindle 3.0 with ThoughtMonitor™

    "they're too slow to keep up with my thinking"...for now that is. Once Amazon reveals Kindle 3.0, developed with military whatchamacallit "brain reader" - the Kindle will automatically tune in to your thinking.

    I for one could not replace hard textbooks with a single eReader. Very cool idea in theory, but in practice, not there yet and may never be there.

    Amazon is getting great feedback on why the Kindle sucks for university use. They can take that input and make it better!?

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