Campus Technology / May 2010 / Jennifer Demsk
Electronic readers may be ushering in a watershed moment in personal reading, with the Amazon Kindle, Sony Reader, and Barnes & Noble Nook duking it out for market dominance (and with the iPad warming up in the wings). But how do these contenders fare in the academic marketplace? In theory, e-reader devices seem ideal as a replacement for the expensive, heavy, traditional textbook—even more so, perhaps, than for the beach-compatible paperback book, which can take heavy doses of sand, suntan lotion, salt water, and trampling feet and still deliver the goods!
But reading for learning is not the same activity as reading for pleasure, and so the question must be asked: Do these devices designed for the consumer book market match up against the rigors of academic reading?
Campus Technology recently spoke with three universities that conducted e-reader pilots on their campuses to address that question. Northwest Missouri State University tested the Sony Reader PRS-505 during the 2008-2009 school year, while Princeton University (NJ) and Arizona State University are participating in a pilot of the Kindle DX with five other universities over the course of the 2009-2010 school year.
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