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Stoking the Technology Fires

Have you been following the Kindle debate? Well the unveiling a couple of days ago of the Kindle DX e-book reader with a larger screen has business watchers, educators, students and textbook publishers all a buzz. So it should. The WSJ article I read reported that this coming Fall, a test group of university students at Cleveland’s Case Western Reserve and other universities (including Princeton) will be given large screen Kindles with textbooks for chemistry, computer science and freshman orientation pre installed so that the university can analyze their experience as compared to those students using paper texts.

I can think of many reasons students would not want to use the Kindle DX just drawing from my own university days with my empty purse and the scrimping sharing and trading of used textbooks with my friends and the radicals at the local bookstore. But this is really not about whether or not students will buy a Kindle DX. The biggest reason to sit up and take notice of this news is that academic textbook publishers are now going to have to sit up and face the very real demand for electronic content. Believe me, in a world where we are still skewering each other over our opinions on the efficacy of a classroom projector, whiteboard and the Internet in the classroom, the real debate on today’s topic has not even begun.