The E-book Skeptic
You don't have to pass any tests to get into Princeton if your name is Kindle--and your daddy's name is Bezos.

Although this does not qualify as peer reviewed research, sometimes it can be so obvious that the emperor has no clothes that you just have to say something:

 

To considerable fanfare, Princeton University last spring announced that students in three courses this fall would be given amazon's new Kindle DX, preloaded with the course readings for the entire semester. The pilot program was pitched as part of a "sustainability program to preserve paper," according to the Daily Princetonian.

 

The "problem" that the Kindle was supposed to fix was that students were accessing much of their reading material on-line, but they were printing most of it out before reading it. (Which is just what you would predict they would do from the research presented on this web site. Students at a place like Princeton know that they have to understand what they have read, and remember it).

 

Princeton's solution to this "problem" was to introduce the Kindle--which has no printing option!  

 

Of course Princeton's Office of Information Technology director made a comment about the Kindle's screen being supposedly better designed for reading. But needless to say he offered no facts or research to back up this assertion.

 

And how has this pilot program been going, now that the academic year is over? "Kindles yet to woo University users" was the headline on the Princetonian's initial follow-up article in late September. See the entire article at this link.

 

And on February 22, under the headline "U Releases Kindle Pilot Data," the Princetonian reported that the Kindle "reduced the amount of paper students printed for their respective classes by nearly 50 percent," while noting that "roughly 65 percent of participants said they would not purchase a replacement e-reader if theirs broke."


The fact that Jeff Bezos, a Princeton alum, was scheduled to give the 2010 graduation address at Princeton. would of course have had absolutely nothing to do with Princeton lending its name and its students to this experiment. There is no indication that Princeton is taking this opportunity to do any serious research on the functionality of the Kindle.

 

Perhaps worse things can happen to a tree than to have it made into a book that people use to better understand their world? After all, the information technology industry is hardly carbon neutral.