E-book readers are poised to become as popular as netbooks, and it's Amazon who stands to benefit the most, whose Kindle readers lead the charge. But the handheld digital readers are best served for personal use and not in an academic setting, suggests Princeton University.
As part of a pilot program, 50 Princeton students received a Kindle DX e-book reader at no cost, but according school newspaper The Daily Princetonian , "many of them said they were dissatisfied and uncomfortable with the devices."
The Kindles were given to students and faculty in three courses -- WWS 325: Civil Society and Public Policy, WWS 555A: U.S. Policy and Diplomacy in the Middle East, and CLA 546: Religion and Magic in Ancient Rome. In all three classes, the general consensus was that the devices were too difficult to use.
"I hate to sound like a Luddite, but this technology is a poor excuse of an academic tool," said Aaron Horvath, a student in Civil Society and Public Policy. "It's clunky, slow, and a real pain to operate."
Horvath went on to explain that by trading in textbooks for the Kindle, students lose the ability for physical interaction, including highlights, page-tearing, sticky notes, margin notes, and so forth.