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Kindle Teams Up with University Presses

Kindle is working with Princeton, Oxford, Yale and the UC to put some of their textbooks into ebook format so that a student can order and download the book directly from the Kindle. How much savings that will represent for a student is unknown. I tried to always buy used textbooks to save money so unless the textbooks are drastically reduced in digital format, I wonder how much of a dent this will make.

Via Gizmodo.

Jane Litte is the founder of Dear Author, a lawyer, and a lover of pencil skirts. She spends her downtime reading romances and writing about them. Her TBR pile is much larger than the one shown in the picture and not as pretty. You can reach Jane by email at jane @ dearauthor dot com

11 Comments

  1. sula
    Jun 27, 2008 @ 06:26:58

    The textbook for one of my MBA courses this summer is completely electronic. The professor (who wrote the book) converted each chapter into PDF format and this is what we’re expected to use for the class. I gotta be honest, it’s fine for the every day reading or following along in class with my laptop but when it comes time to cram for the final, I crave something solid that I can mark up with notes and highlighter. So yeah, I dunno about e-textbooks. Perhaps some subjects are more amenable to it than others.

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  2. Julie
    Jun 27, 2008 @ 09:07:04

    I would hope that textbook publishers see value in more than one electronic format. Virtually every college student I know has a notebook computer (and a fair number have a smartphone as well), so why spend money on another device? I know: The Kindle is locked down with DRM. Grr.

    I have a kid in college, so I’m right with you on used textbooks.

    @sula, you have a good point about marking up books. I did a lot of that in college. In fact, the only way I got through high school math was to buy a used copy of the textbook that I could mark up. We won’t talk about my “stellar” performance in “Math for Liberal Arts Dummies” in college. ;-)

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  3. Jane
    Jun 27, 2008 @ 09:12:46

    You can highlight and do light annotation with the Kindle, I believe. (I know you can highlight).

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  4. sula
    Jun 27, 2008 @ 09:16:38

    It’s true that you can highlight and make notes on some digital books, but for some reason, it just does not have the same immediacy (for me) as a paper in my hands that I can mark up, draw little diagrams and generally make a mess out of. lol.

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  5. Kalen Hughes
    Jun 27, 2008 @ 11:02:32

    You can highlight and do light annotation with the Kindle, I believe. (I know you can highlight).

    Yes, but multiple reviews I’ve read stated that it’s a limited function. The students discovered that they could only put in a limited number of highlights and notes and then the fuction was “full”. Not so useful in the long run . . .

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  6. Rebecca J
    Jun 27, 2008 @ 12:23:11

    I hate doing heavy reading on screen.

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  7. Kay
    Jun 27, 2008 @ 15:45:14

    When electronic publishing was first talked about, this was to be a major reason for it: lightening the physical textbook load. Now–what?–10 years later, they’re finally getting to it. But I bet, just as in fiction e-formats, the price differential doesn’t make up for, as you all have suggested, the inability to completely mark up a book. I can read digitally, but I think I’d study best on paper. However the next generations, the ones born to computers, may not feel any difference.

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  8. Shiloh Walker
    Jun 27, 2008 @ 16:15:07

    In theory, digital textbooks sound wonderful.

    My oldest is about as skinny as they come. Going into 4th grade. Often her backpack weighs 20lbs or more, and not from junk, but her books. That’s a 1/3 of her body weight, way past the ‘safe’ weight. I’d love for her to have the optional of digital books.

    But I don’t see them being affordable for a while yet.

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  9. Karen Templeton
    Jun 28, 2008 @ 16:47:48

    Slight tangent ahead:

    That’s interesting about marking up paper vs. electronic versions of textboots, since it got me to thinking about editing on file or hardcopy of a manuscript. I do my own editing on the computer, never seeing the book on paper until I get my line edits. But that’s because I simply change what needs changing on my own stuff. When editing another author’s work, however, I find entering changes into a file tedious as hell — editing on hard copy with pen or pencil is much faster and less strenuous. I tire much more quickly editing on a computer screen. I also feel much more in tune with a piece if I’m actually physically connecting with it, other than with my eyes. Weird, huh?

    So I wonder if studying via a screen is much the same thing — actually writing notes in a physical book helps burn the information into the brain better than simply reading it, or highlighting it electronically.

    Fascinating. And clearly a factor of switching to digital textbooks that hadn’t been considered.

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  10. sula
    Jun 30, 2008 @ 09:45:17

    Karen, I think you’re onto something as regards the “burning into the brain” thing. That’s exactly why I need to be able to physically mark things up while I study. The act of transmitting information from my brain through my fingers and onto paper helps reinforce the idea that I’m trying to learn. Typing the same information is so much quicker and feels like it uses a different part of my faculties. I can type almost as fast as I think (ok, not quite) and am forced to slow down and really consider what it is I am saying when I’m writing by hand. That may also just be a learning style thing. Who knows.

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  11. Stephanie
    Jul 03, 2008 @ 10:10:34

    Argh. Agreed with Julie: can they put them out in non-proprietary formats, like HTML and PDF? So we aren’t required to buy a Kindle as well as a laptop and a smartphone and an iPod and a GPS navigator, all just to go to college?

    Sounds like another step in the Amazon Plan to Dominate Publishing in Any Possible Form For Eternity . . .

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