You watch the dollar amount rapidly increase as the El Corral Bookstore employee swipes each textbook across the scanner. You flinch as you reluctantly fork over hundreds of bucks. You leave the store feeling defeated, toss your purchases into your backpack, and walk away with the weight of the books on your back mocking you.
While this experience will resonate with many college students, the invention of Amazon’s Kindle DX, featuring a 9.7-inch screen targeted toward college students, is now in the market to replace paper books.
But are students ready to trade in their mountains of textbooks for a computerized screen?
While opinions on this vary, I personally would never replace my heaps of textbooks for a Kindle and here’s why:
1) If you’re smart about buying textbooks, they won’t cost hundreds of dollars per quarter.
There are so many ways that students can avoid the high price tag of buying quarterly textbooks. Since students sign up for classes in advance, there is adequate time to purchase books in advance from one of the many textbook bargain or exchange Web sites (such as ScrewtheBookStores.com). I have seen a textbook at the bookstore for $200, but found a used copy online for $15. Students can also exchange textbooks with each other, sell them for a lot cheaper, or pass them on to friends.
2) You can’t mark up a Kindle like you can a textbook.
The Kindle does provide a highlighting tool and allows you to write notes, but the efficiency and effectiveness are compromised. Highlighting in a paper textbook is easy. You grab a Highlighter and swipe. You can even add personal notes anywhere on the page at anytime without thinking twice about it. With a Kindle, however, highlighting and note taking become much more difficult as these tasks involve a step-by-step computerized operation. If trying to keep up with a fast-paced lecture, taking notes in a paper textbook wins hands down.
3) Page numbers on the Kindle can get confusing.
The page numbers in a Kindle change based on font size. When it’s a smaller font, you could be on page 345, but if you change the text to a larger font, the number could jump to 897. When the professor tells the class to flip to page 450 in the textbook, the Kindle user might be left behind.
4) You can have numerous paper textbooks open at once.
Let’s say you are studying for a final and have all your notes and textbooks spread out in front of you. You can clearly see everything and can flip through pages easily. A Kindle has limitations in that you can only have one book open at a time. If you’re like me, my desk looks like a hurricane cruised over it and I am constantly flipping pages, writing notes in the margins and book marking pages.
Would you ever trade in your textbooks for a Kindle?