Kindle gains popularity for university textbooks

Just as Apple got millions of college students to leave their CD collections at home each September in favor of a tiny iPod, Amazon is trying to convince undergrads that there’s no reason to lug around a backpack full of textbooks, reports the Christian Science Monitor: Just buy a Kindle. This fall, Princeton University Press will begin publishing Kindle-edition textbooks. It’s on a short list of printing houses that are testing the e-textbook waters. (Kindle also has snagged Yale, Oxford, and the University of California.) But Princeton is the only school to attempt a Kindle-first launch, offering Robert Shiller’s new economics book The Subprime Solution on the Amazon electronic reader two weeks before students can buy a hard copy. Kindle, which went on sale in November, has attracted a lot of buzz. The device was backordered for weeks and now is on sale at 10 percent off.
But Kindle is really designed to replace paperbacks, not thick textbooks. For one thing, don’t expect Gray’s Anatomy; the Kindle is not very good at graphics or diagrams–and securing the digital rights for some images is often more trouble than it’s worth for publishers. Nonetheless, Princeton plans to roll out hundreds of books through the gadget’s online store. UCal already offers 40 and wants to publish more…

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