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Rekindling Interest in Amazon's E-Book Reader

Since I reviewed it late last year, few gadgets have drawn as much popular interest as Amazon's Kindle electronic-book reader.

I may still have seen only one in the wild (and that was on a flight to CES, which means I wasn't exactly looking at a representative sample of non-geek humanity), and nobody knows for sure how many have been sold -- 189,000, 240,000, 378,000?. But the comparatively tiny dent this device has made in the consumer-electronics market hasn't deterred people from sending me a steady stream of queries about what it's like to use this thing and whether it's worth the price. I've also been interviewed by other media outlets -- most recently, NPR -- about this device, which is not the case with most of the things I try out.

The concept of reading a book on a device that, like paper, is sufficiently uncluttered to let you get lost in the text seems to resonate with people in a way that many other consumer-tech possibilities don't.

Now that the Kindle is nearing its first birthday, rumors are starting to circulate about what its next version might be like. For example, there are hints of such design upgrades as a new, simpler set of controls. But the most fascinating change in a Kindle 2.0 would be a marketing shift suggested by reports in the Seattle Post-Intelligencer and Ars Technica: selling the next Kindle to college students as a textbook reader.

I like this idea. Textbooks cost an inordinate amount of money yet are rarely kept for more than a year or two. Their readers, meanwhile, must make room for their substantial weight and heft in backpacks and dorms (which happen to be among the smallest living quarters available in the United States outside of military barracks and prisons). They're also crying out for the search features that come naturally to any computer-driven display system. If an e-book reader can work anywhere, it ought to be on the college campus.

If you're in school, do you agree? If not, what are you hoping to see in the next Kindle -- or any other e-book reader?

By Rob Pegoraro  |  August 25, 2008; 11:23 AM ET
Categories:  Gadgets  
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I am not a student and haven't been one since, sigh, 1965. But I recall what a large part of my disposable income textbooks -- even used ones -- took then. And it's even worse now. Anything that could help control cost (and secondarily weight) on the textbook scene has got to be welcome.

Posted by: Dick Wexelblat | August 25, 2008 12:28 PM | Report abuse

My job often involves skimming through thousands of pages of regulations and then reading the relevant items. A Kindle that can store and easily search PDFs (I found the search feature on a unit I played with clunky) would make this far more enjoyable than a computer screen. It really doesn't feel like you're reading on a computer.

I might vote for a larger but thinner unit-- so that page sizes could be larger, reducing the number of clicks.... And perhaps something that can handle more graphics. I wouldn't be able to rely on the Post's Kindle edition as it now stands-- no comics!

Posted by: Arlington | August 25, 2008 12:59 PM | Report abuse

The hardcover textbook is expensive but it allows students to make notes, highlight sections etc. I see a problem with using an electronic reader to study for exams.

Posted by: Spencer | August 25, 2008 1:22 PM | Report abuse

If the new Kindle were larger (like 8.5 X 11), and gave the option of handscribbling notes in the margins, I would buy it at any price. It can already highlight and allow typed comments--this is not good enough. (Well, it would also need to neatly be able to import .pdf files--something I understand it does so now fairly badly.)

Posted by: KW | August 25, 2008 1:36 PM | Report abuse

Instead of the kindle, I have dreamed for years of a laptop screen on an extension cable with some workable controls so I could lay in bed and read without the weight of a large hardback aggravating my arthritic shoulders. Civil war history would be great if the screen could be split into two windows, text in left concurrent real time maps on the right.

Posted by: Dennis Jennings | August 25, 2008 1:45 PM | Report abuse

Kindle won’t be soon a textbook substitute; however there are some advantages as lightweight and competitive cost. Kindle looks particular attractive to many segments of the readers’ markets, nevertheless I cannot see myself researching materials by using a kindle.

Posted by: John | August 25, 2008 1:46 PM | Report abuse

I'm a reader and an author. I have two opinions on the Kindle, but only one is relevant here. As a reader, I love it. I take it to the gym every day, I take it on the subway, to the beach etc. It's easy, it's convenient and I can read with one hand while I'm strap-holding on the subway in the morning, and still turn the page.

I haven't been a student for quite a while, but I always resented the extraordinary amount of money I had to pay for required texts in College. It never made any sense why students should be burdened with such high costs for books on top of the high costs of college in general. The Kindle would have been amazing. And you could take all your books with you everywhere you went, so easily and in such a compact, efficient manner. Brilliant in fact.

I would like to see an easier control system on the Kindle. This one's a bit difficult to use, particularly the scroll bar/fly wheel and the selector button. It also locks up a bit too much for me and the sleep mode doesn't always work. It seems to me that it could have been and should have been much more up to date electronically by now. Despite the revolutionary reading experience, the packaging is a bit old already.

Still and all, it's the best new thing that has come out for readers in decades. The low cost of books available helps defer the high cost of the device.

Posted by: Gary Wassner | August 25, 2008 1:49 PM | Report abuse

I like the Kindle, especially the ability to access the web which I am told is good In the US only. Thinner would be better and USB charging capability so I don’t have to tote around another charger.

Posted by: Paul Nunes | August 25, 2008 1:49 PM | Report abuse

Despite the negatives that I've heard about this device, the idea that I could take multiple books on an overseas flight with the space of ONE book -- who doesn't want that?

As for a textbook reader, I constantly would forget to bring a book to this class or the other -- and college textbooks tend to be big and weighty.

Still, there would need to be a lot of interactivity -- highlighting key passages, etc. -- for it to replace a textbook.

But think about some other great features -- the ability for a professor to "add" his notes to you "copy" of the text, so that you could click and read them as you're going through a chapter. Just that alone....

Posted by: BobT | August 25, 2008 2:28 PM | Report abuse

No one currently alive will see a replacement for textbooks seeing as everything would be in grayscale at this point. Publishers would need an incentive you know.

Posted by: csandre | August 25, 2008 2:36 PM | Report abuse

As a voracious reader, I find the Kindle to be the greatest thing since sliced bread. To be able to have 25+ books with me at one time, to pick and choose which to read, then go to another for an hour, then to another is tremendous. To experience all that on a 5 hour flight is a technological miracle. Does it have flaws, of course, but none that can't be ignored. Live within its strengths and limitations and it is great.

Posted by: Pat Allaire | August 25, 2008 2:59 PM | Report abuse

A great feature would be highlighting and then listing the highlights by chapter so you can easily see all of them. I would also like to have a note feature that lets you make notes on the highlights.

Posted by: Rod | August 25, 2008 2:59 PM | Report abuse

Needs to be ruggedized. Sunday, sitting on the beach, a wave rolled in and soaked my beach bag. The book in it is still readable now that it's dried out. I doubt a kindle could handle that.

The problem with ruggedizing it is that it also needs to be much less expensive. Those two needs are in tension.

Posted by: wiredog | August 25, 2008 3:23 PM | Report abuse

Saw my very first Kindle in the flesh on my way to work today, on the Metro!

Kindle could never replace textbooks. The need to highlight/make notes, to flip back and forth, have your fingers in several sections at once, is so important. The thought of saving money and my lower back is titillating, regardless. Sigh.

Posted by: cbr1 | August 25, 2008 4:38 PM | Report abuse

Oh my god yes! I'm a full time student of a brick and mortar AND I have a full time career as an analyst. Between lugging my gear to work so I can sneak homework in during lunch and transporting work related items and school related items in two backpacks a kindle that reads ebooks would be a welcomed relief. But the question is: Who would get stuck with the bill for the folks who can’t afford a kindle? Schools are STILL getting resistance for requiring notebook computers and nowadays those can be had for much less than the price of a kindle.

Posted by: User47 | August 25, 2008 5:48 PM | Report abuse

I have thought about this for high school students, too. The backpacks that they are forced to carry are flat-out dangerous - both to people walking near them and to their developing backs.

What would really be nice is if some orthopedic surgeons push this issue a bit - because of the damage caused by the ridiculous backpacks and the book loads.

Finally, people said that we wouldn't be able to get rid of records and newspapers - but look, CD sales are shrinking, newspapers are in trouble, etc.

Textbook publishers should get ahead of the curve on this one...

Posted by: Gary Z | August 25, 2008 6:02 PM | Report abuse

I have had my kindle for about 4 months now, and I love it.

However, one of its biggest drawbacks is that it does not display maps and illustrations very well. This could be a result of the publisher not doing a good job of converting these to the kindle format. I think they have focused on the text to get as many books in kindle format as soon as possible.

When talking about textbooks, graphs and charts are very important and the textbook publishers would need to pay special attention to converting those to kindle format to make publishing in kindle format effective.

Posted by: rb-freedom-for-all | August 25, 2008 6:14 PM | Report abuse

I've seen three Kindles in the wild. Two in cafes and one on a cruise. The design isn't as sexy as I'd like given the price point. I'm shallow like that. But the big problem for me is that I don't read enough books to get a decent return on my hardware investment. Drop the price by 50% and their customer base would increase exponentially. Can't do that due to costs? Fine, give me an Kindle iPhone App and you're selling tons of razor blades without needing to mess with razors.

Posted by: Dave Zatz | August 25, 2008 8:16 PM | Report abuse

I still have my obsolete Rocket eBook, and back when I bought it (maybe 8 years ago), I had the same thought about using an e-book reader for textbooks.

But the points about making notes and highlighting are well taken. It was possible to add notes with the Rocket, but it was slow and clunky. I haven't tried the Kindle, so I don't know how the reading experiences compare.

Lately, I've been reading more e-books on my laptop, which converts to a tablet. Existing software usable on a laptop does provide at least some of these functions. Mobipocket allows highlighting and notes, and Acrobat (the full program, not sure about Reader) does too. A tablet laptop would seem more suitable for textbook use, in that it has the other functions of a laptop. It's bigger than the Kindle and Rocket, which is good for those who want the bigger screen, and that also allows beter graphics. A tablet is heavier than a Kindle, which isn't so good but might be an OK trade-off, especially in comparison to a few textbooks.

Posted by: BW | August 25, 2008 10:25 PM | Report abuse

I graduated with my BA in 2000 and my MA in 2005. I've also owned a Kindle since April and love it. I've stopped buying paperback or hardback fiction books if the title is available on my Kindle.

The biggest problem with college textbooks isn't space it's cost. There's no way a publisher is going to release their textbook on a Kindle unless they're priced at a sufficiently high margin just like regular textbooks are. They "justify" the cost because of the short print runs for most of them. Using the Kindle would simply mean adding $300-400 to the cost of already outrageously priced textbooks. Not to mention that many of the publishers are academic presses that may not have the resources to create good Kindle versions of textbooks.

Furthermore, using a Kindle format totally eliminates the most affordable way of getting a textbook, used. The publishers love the idea of more people using e-books because it totally eliminates the used market where they don't make any money.

The Kindle does already have a decent notes function when you're reading. I do think that would work for textbooks, especially if Amazon is planning to upgrade the Kindle to use color.

Rob, this is an idea that's good in "theory" but won't work in practice. At least not without untangling the mess that already is the college textbook market.

Posted by: Chris | August 26, 2008 12:43 AM | Report abuse

You -can- highlight passages and make e-notes with the current Kindle.

And you can then ask to see them, and they're shown to you in sequence and you click on the one you want...

I most like the ability to search your entire library for a keyword.

It's far from perfect but I love mine and use it everyday since I also subscribe to NYTimes Latest News (99c/month), and BBC News online (MSNBC also) is accessible in Kindle format for free (bookmarked in the Kindle before you get it).

The $360 is said to make up for having wireless 24/7 with this but not charging the user for that wireless access. I think the iPhone can be $60/mo ?

I also subscribe to Slate which gives me daily summaries of news from all the large newspapers and magazines while linking me to more detailed stories on the web, which I can then access pretty quickly if the page is mainly text and if I want to know more.

This is done via Sprint EV-DO network, which is fast Internet, and can be used anywhere you cellphone works. Even in a car.

But if you like to read, outside the house, it's great to have a full library with you which you can read according to mood, and it remembers which page you were last on.

For textbooks without heavy graphics, it's perfect -- depending on the cost of it though. Printing isn't needed so the costs shouldn't be so high.

Posted by: Andrys | August 26, 2008 5:56 AM | Report abuse

Maybe I'm just noticing it more than most people, but I've seen Kindle's at least a couple of times a week on the Metro.

Posted by: jeff | August 26, 2008 9:01 AM | Report abuse

I just got a Kindle for my birthday. It is truly fantastic. It is easy and intuitive to use. I have shown it to my colleagues and they really want one too. Textbooks were the second question asked, after how does it work? In my field, reference texts are of critical importance, especially when out in the field or on a plane with no access to Google. And, by the way, it really works as advertised.

Posted by: Sandy | August 26, 2008 9:47 AM | Report abuse

Although the economics of an e-reader vs. paper-based texts should be pretty compelling, I wonder how an e-reader will accommodate students' need to highlight and make margin notes. I also wonder if there is any negative attached to have all of a student's texts on one single device?

Posted by: William Gust | August 26, 2008 9:48 AM | Report abuse

Dear Santa, please bring me a Kindle but have the elves marry it to my Treo (or other pda/phone/mp3 player) so, among other things, the books can be read or listened to. Also include the capacity of a micro laptops like Eee PC.

I'm sure the textbook publishers will go kicking and screaming, but theirs is a grossly bloated industry ripe for being "I-Tuned" out.

Posted by: Pete | August 26, 2008 9:48 AM | Report abuse

I'd like to see Amazon, Sony, Rocket, and any other comers do the following with these devices:

1. Permit Tablet PC-style handwriting and Note taking but with a truly thin form factor (Tablet PCs handle the writing, but the form factor is too bulky and the price too steep. It needs to be like a simple pad of note paper and permit MS OneNote use.)

2. Support the new .epub digital book standard (Sony Reader 505 does this)

3. Permit re-flowable PDFs to make non-e-book-PDFs easily readable on the device (Sony Reader 505 does this)

4. Permit exportation of highlighted and annotated sections of a book to a Word document for inclusion in a paper or book one is writing. (Kindle goes part way by showing the list of notes and highlights, but fails on the export.)

5. Integrate with bibliographic software like EndNote so that the user can automatically capture relevant materials, quotes and their bibliographic information for inclusion in a book or paper one is writing.

6. Assist with managing the organization of notes for a paper or book one is writing ( does this partly, though it lacks a truly functional organization capability)

7. Permit web surfing and highlighting of text on the web for inclusion in a document.

8. Permit web downloading of books and PDFs

9. Permit an external keyboard to be attached.

Wow, that's a researcher's, business person's, student's, and general reader's dream device.

Posted by: Jim | August 26, 2008 9:49 AM | Report abuse

Cutting the price in half would likely quadruple ownership and usage.

Until this drops below $200, I will not be buying, and I doubt many others will either.

Posted by: John S. | August 26, 2008 9:59 AM | Report abuse

I love the Kindle! No more books accumulating on my nighstand; the freedom to carry many books when I travel; and the ability to Save for Later books I'm interested in but don't want to purchase/clutter my shelf now. It's a winner!

Posted by: technophobe | August 26, 2008 10:05 AM | Report abuse

My personal problem with all E-Books/Readers is the inability to share a book with a friend. My circle of friends are rather avid readers, and one finishes a book it is passed on to the next person till we have all read it. I understand that copy write infringement is a major problem and putting books in unprotected formats would lead to the Napster Bookstore, but what I would like to see is a way to pass an E-book on, so that if I gave it to a friend it would be removed from my device and added to his, until he did the same. It would be a technological nightmare to make work, but would lure book sharing people like me to the device.

Just my thought,

Posted by: Jeff | August 26, 2008 11:31 AM | Report abuse

Maybe I'm missing something, but I have these thoughts:

Ultimately, I think e-readers are an interesting but probably a moot technology. At the rate that laptops and PDA's are improving, increasing screen size while decreasing over-all hardware size, these readers (Kindle or otherwise) have a limited window of opportunity. E-texts will certainly be common-place, but e-readers? Eh, not so much, methinks.

Case in point. The iPhone. The screen is large, you can download e-texts into it (and your options will only increase with more third-party apps). Reading on iPhone is not bad and (most important of all), you do not have to carry a separate device! If you have your phone, you have your library!

Then there's the Tablet PC. Not a perfect technology, by any means, but somebody is going to get it right one of these days. When that happens, how much will an e-reader have to offer?

Again, maybe I'm missing something, but at this point, isn't this discussion essentially about an imminently obsolete technology?

Posted by: Robert C. | August 26, 2008 11:43 AM | Report abuse

Tip for Kindle users: Do take paper reading material with you if you fly.

Back when I fell in love with my Rocket, I took it on vacation to California. Lots of books in a small, light format--yay! Long enough battery life to read on the plane from D.C. to California--yay! I even read it in the hotel jacuzzi, thanks to someone else's tip about putting it in a ziplock bag. But on the way home, we were stuck on the ground in Philadelphia while they fixed some faulty part in the plane. And for at least an hour and a half, passengers were not allowed to use electronic devices at all. I was stuck with the airline magazine and Sky Mall

Posted by: BW | August 26, 2008 12:01 PM | Report abuse

If you've seen someone on the red line with a Kindle, it was probably me ;).

I absolutely love it. For such an expensive device, it's saved me so much money. I used it to save a total of $250 for one semester of textbooks (some books available for cheaper on, others free from Gutenberg but I wouldn't want to read on a computer screen and would have purchased them instead).

I read the Washington Post on it, which has arrived every day since Febuary without issues. It's only been late once (they sent a note to my Kindle to inform me, even), and it's never been soggy or underneath the car- and it's a quarter of the price of home delivery. No pictures though, but that doesn't bother me.

I tear through pulp paperback novels, and have boxes upon boxes of them in my parent's garage, so I'm glad to not have to store the new books that I buy on the Kindle in my small apartment here.

It's got limitations, but so does every first gen device. Rather than make excuses for Amazon's failures (aesthetic design, or lack thereof, bugs and glitches, spotty PDF support, high rate of failure during the first few months), I'll just say that Amazon is new to the device market in general and I honestly hope they'll learn from their mistakes.

I have an iPhone as well, which is an infinitely more polished device (Apple has been in the pretty devices market for a while), for a completely different set of uses. The iPhone is a phone and internet device. I love it because I'm always connected to the world when I have it in my pocket. I would never try to read a novel on it- it's not made for that.

On battery life: The Kindle recharges once a week. The iPhone recharges at least every other night.

Posted by: Katie S | August 26, 2008 12:30 PM | Report abuse

The idea of being able to replace all my textbooks with a single device is wonderful. But only if the screen doesn't exhaust my eyes looking at it over many hours, allows me to easily move between pages to compare and contrast information while learning, and needs to be 8.5 x 11 inches.

The last is important, because that's the standard page size for most current texts. And that in turn is important for two reasons. One, publishers don't have to worry about reformatting the layout of their pages. Often it might not matter, but sometimes having certain passages of text and illustrations together properly is important. The more similar the two formats are, the cheaper the translation.

The second reason is something the students will like and the publishers will hate. If you scan and bitTorrent your current textbook, it again is much better to have a page the size of the original.

Posted by: ron | August 26, 2008 12:30 PM | Report abuse

I am a professor at a large university (which is going to have to remain nameless) in a humanities/social science field, where we don't assign textbooks per se but rather several lower-cost books usually from university presses (ca. $20 each per book, new, but often available used and in print for longer periods). For what it is worth, not a single book of the eight I assign for two classes is currently available for the Kindle. That may change, of course, but shows no sign of doing so quickly.

I guess my question is, will the Kindle appeal to students if it is useful for parts of some of their classes, but not for every book they would otherwise buy? I.e., if you can use the Kindle for your math textbook and your science textbook, and maybe for one book of your history class, but not for the three others assigned, or for your sociology class (at all), is that good enough to prompt students to buy it?

My take on what would make the Kindle more useable for my students is the following. Please note I haven't seen/touched/used one (and personally am in no hurry to).

1) As mentioned often in other posts, robust highlighting and marginal note-taking capabilities. Personally I take notes in multiple colors in multiple places on the page - others may be satisfied with less, but "form factor" and stylistic flexibility are crucial.

2) A deeper roster of books, obviously. Again, for my classes, zero out of eight at present. What is the cost to a publisher to generate a Kindle book, and how does that work out when we are talking about a book that will not sell in volume anyway (e.g., "Balkan Politics, 1918-1945," rather than your math textbook)?

3) The ability also to handle/download and annotate .pdf (maybe also Word) files from Blackboard and other similar proprietary college websites for posting article-length readings for a class. We often assign twenty-plus article readings for a course, on top of books, which are available to students (for free, because the websites are passworded and thus student access is interpreted to fall under educational fair use) via such websites. Some are simply image .pdfs, i.e. not enhanced or searchable, scanned in from various obscure sources. Does the Kindle currently support such readings, does it do so elegantly, and is Amazon willing to support this capacity without a profit to be made?

4) Finally, if they are interested in accessing the (large) language-textbook market, the ability to handle (and annotate) in other languages, with all the diacritics, non-Roman scripts, character-based scripts, etc. involved.

Just some thoughts. The Kindle can "work," and thus sell, without working for all circumstances, or working for me, of course, but I find it interesting to think through what it would need to do so.

Posted by: RO | August 26, 2008 1:06 PM | Report abuse

My public library has thousands of titles in PDF format that can be borrowed for free. I would love a portable reader for these. Maybe there's something out there, but I haven't been able to find one yet. Not everyone can afford a Kindle, or to pay for every title they want to read, and that's where libraries come into play. How about an article on this?

Posted by: Kati Long | August 26, 2008 3:52 PM | Report abuse

I don't own a Kindle, I'm almost 20 years out of grad school, and I love the concept of this item, but what if a student's unit dies/malfunctions/gets stolen just before mid-term or final exams!? Not only the text, but also the margin notes and highlights would be gone! Talk about stress!! When I was in school, textbooks were pretty easy to keep track of and students could leave them lying around where they were studying with little or no problem. This may not be a concern for students today since they deal with this same risk toting laptops around. However, students do have the ability to back up their laptop data for emergencies. I think I would want some sort of back up function on the Kindle for my notes/highlights if there isn't one already so that I could download them on my laptop--just in case!

Posted by: Fran H. | August 27, 2008 11:07 AM | Report abuse

Don't think for an instant that an e-book will reduce the prices of college textbooks. They're already priced at "all the market will bear". At my school, profits from textbook sales went to "scholarships" which translate as "scholarships for jocks". They'll get whatever they can for the books, regardless of the format. And, how could you sell a used e-book???

Why limit yourself to college textbooks? There is a pilot project in a town in France this fall to give e-book readers to elementary school children. These kids normally carry around huge book bags, and an e-book reader would sure help. The kids also grew up with technology, so they have no problem using them.

Posted by: Anonymous | August 27, 2008 11:21 AM | Report abuse

Kindle for seniors or disabled people? Absolutely.
I'm 60 years of age and have serious arthritis and fibromyalgia pain,neither one limited to age. My love for reading has been affected to a great extent. Finding comfortable positions to sit and hold my reading material are virtually impossible due to severe pain in my neck, shoulders, hands and upper back. I refuse to stop reading but I do so in pain folowed by more pain the the next couple of days. Difficult for someone who previously read a book a day most often non-fiction. Please redesign Kindle keeping in mind those of us growing older, and adjust the price to allow those of us on a fixed income to benefit by such a device. I do realize the Kindle advantage to students and business. However we "baby boomers" are fast becoming a huge percentage of the market and growing by leaps and bounds. It is only good sense to consider what I'm telling you. So many areas have already made changes and are instituting even more. You can be among the smart companies.
I have not seen a Kindle or tryed on. I'm offering my opinion by what I've seen and heard.
Thank you

Posted by: anonymous | August 27, 2008 2:53 PM | Report abuse

I looked at the Kindle and compared it to the Sony PRS-505 before I settled on the Sony. I didn't care for the clunky appearance of the Kindle. Wikipedia has a good page detailing many of the ebook readers on the market.

The Sony lets you read Adobe PDF files, text files, and more. There is also a new freeware product called Calibre that lets you catalogue and convert many formats to the sony .lrf format. You can also pull down entire websites and rss feeds for reading on the Sony. (

The battery life is phenomenal. I like the instant-on, right where I left off, capability. On the metro, slugging, or on the bus, I take it everywhere with me.

I've got over 45 books on an SD card and there's an empty Memory Stick slot as well. The USB charging/transfer port lets you access both the internal memory and the SD cards.

No, I'm not a Sony employee ... just a very satisfied customer!

Posted by: Denny | August 27, 2008 5:20 PM | Report abuse

YES, YES, YES! I have, in fact, seen a few of my recently-purchased texts available from Amazon as Kindle books, and might be OK with using the Kindle as opposed to the paper-and-ink versions, but two items of not of concern hold me back:
1. The "start-up cost" for Kindle is $360. This price, plus the cost of the books available on Kindle (not all of them are available, mind you) still remains larger than the total cost of all of my books.
2. I am visually impaired, ergo I am uncertain if I would be able to zoom in on the text if needs be (I currently use a magnifier to help me with "analog" books).

Posted by: Logan | August 27, 2008 5:38 PM | Report abuse

Downloading entire Wikipedia. A provocative idea. Perhaps never necessary.

Posted by: Jumper | August 28, 2008 11:39 AM | Report abuse

The Textbook Mafia is a tough opponent. It took me 5 minutes to find this online.

A couple of comments mentioned taking notes on a Kindle. As I very rarely write in a book, I'm not sure of the problem. The lack of maps, illustrations, etc. is a problem.

I myself want one to read everything that's available free from Project Gutenberg that I don't want to read on my monitor. I'm pretty sure the big publishers don't particularly want people reading for pleasure for free.

Posted by: Jumper | August 28, 2008 11:43 AM | Report abuse

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