Reed College to Test Amazon Kindle DX in Fall 2009
Reed was selected by Amazon as one of five colleges to test the Kindle DX for classroom use.
Portland, OR (May 6, 2009)–Amazon announced today that Reed College is a pilot school for testing the Kindle DX. The lightweight electronic device allows students to download textbooks and class materials assigned by their professors, including syllabi and reading lists. The Kindle DX has a keyboard that provides the ability for note taking, and additional technology that allows for the highlighting of pertinent text.
“We welcome the opportunity to explore this new technology and evaluate its potential in different areas of the curriculum,” said Martin Ringle, Reed’s Chief Technology Officer. “We are eager to see if this is the watershed device that will make electronic texts a viable option for college students.”
Students in select classes (approximately three upper-division classes) will begin using the Kindle DX devices in fall 2009. The Kindle will give students wireless delivery of books, and the capacity to carry thousands of books in one small device. It also saves on the economic and environmental costs of printing on paper.
Amazon’s Kindle DX Release Ignites Blogging Bonfire
Amazon’s digital reader Kindle is being heralded by the press with a mixture of fear and adoration better suited to an apocalypse than a machine. But, according to some, the Kindle could turn out to be just that for the publishing industry.
Especially since Amazon’s newest release is the Kindle DX, the so-called “Big Kindle,” created specifically for textbooks and (execution drum roll, please) periodicals. As print editions of the Seattle P.I., the Rocky Mountain News and Blender bite the dust, the appearance of a digital reader sounds like yet another death-warrent.
As we all know, larger national publications like New York Times and the Chicago Tribune are hemorrhaging money because, among other reasons, subscribers have fled. Free online content draws readers, as opposed to costly subscriptions. So the question is not how to keep publications from going online, but how tocreate competitive digital content that readers will pay to receive.
So, even though Kindle’s appearance may seem terrifying, it might, according to some, actually be a buoy to keep sinking publishing companies afloat. Amazon has revealed that it’s set up partnerships with Washington Post Co. and New York Times Co. that will allow consumers living outside the newspapers’ delivery areas to get discounted Kindles if they subscribe to the Times, the Post or the Boston Globe on their device. According to the Los Angeles Times, Sarah Rotman Epps, a media analyst at Forrester Research, is especially optimistic about the Kindle’s role in the news industry. “Newspapers are reaching the end of their rope. The e-readers are looking like newspapers’ last best hope,” she says.
But some are more wary, especially in book (as opposed to periodical) publishing. Amazon has already become a book-selling mega-mall, forcing independent sellers out of business, and many are worried that Amazon’s reader, which allows buyers to purchase books only from it’s own e-store, will only further this. In aSlate piece, Paul Aiken, executive director of the Authors Guild, verbalizes this fear, saying, “Everyone is worried that Amazon will end up becoming to books what Apple is to music.”
However, there are some that are neither warning death nor fervently seeking redemption through Kindle. These moderates are given a voice in the Gizmodo.com essay “Why There isn’t a Perfect Ebook Reader.” With E-Ink, flimsy plastic gadgets and colorless screens, the essay argues, Kindle still isn’t quite convenient enough (or cheap enough, at $489 each) to revolutionize anything yet. It’s still a marginal tool, for a niche culture of technophiles who love to read.
But, according to the site, “yet” is the key word here. Like the iPod several years ago, it predicts, Kindle’s time will come.