US: Amazon.com's Kindle fails first college test

If Amazon hoped for honest feedback when it started testing the Kindle DX on college campuses last autumn, it certainly got its wish, writes Amy Martinez for the Seattle Times. Students pulled no punches telling the Seattle Internet giant what they thought of its $489 e-reader. If Amazon hoped the Kindle DX would become the next iPhone or iPod on campuses, it failed its first test.

At the University of Virginia, as many as 80% of MBA students who participated in Amazon's pilot programme said they would not recommend the Kindle DX as a classroom study aid (though more than 90% liked it for pleasure reading). "You don't read textbooks in the same linear way as a novel," said Franzi Roesner, 23, a graduate student in computer science and engineering at the University of Washington. "You have to flip back and forth between pages, and the Kindle is too slow for that. Also, the bookmarking function is buggy."

Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos introduced the Kindle DX a year ago at Pace University in New York, saying its nearly 10-inch screen and large storage capacity were especially suited for college students. After all, college students could be a huge market for e-readers. Total US book sales declined 1.8% last year, but the higher-education category grew 12.9% to $4.3 billion, according to the Association of American Publishers. E-books enjoyed an even faster growth rate, reaching $313 million in 2009. That was up 177% from 2008, though e-books still have only a small piece of the market.
Full report on The Seattle Times site