The Kindle DX Test at Princeton

May 13, 2009

Princeton University has created a website to set forth the rationale for exploring eReading devices (specifically the Kindle DX). The whole site (not large) is worth exploring. But one fascinating statement emerges:

A driving factor in the launch of this pilot was the patterns of printing on campus. Statistics show that students are not reading digital articles and book selections on their computer screens, but rather downloading the same files again and again, and printing them multiple times in the course of a semester. Reasons cited for this are the fact that it is difficult to read a complex article on a computer screen, that files are printed whenever students have the opportunity to read them, and that hard copies are easier to highlight and annotate for study purposes. Even when hard copies of reserve readings are provided, students prefer to photocopy them, rather than read the originals in the Library.

With an e-reader, one can easily carry a year’s worth or more of course readings in a lightweight device, can search for content, and can annotate, bookmark, or highlight readings. The e-reader pilot at Princeton seeks to target the types of readings that are most downloaded, printed, photocopied at Princeton—which is to say the electronic and print reserve materials required for many courses—and deliver them by means of an e-reader instead.

Check it out.

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Separating the BS from the Kindle DX

May 7, 2009

I had a grand plan tonight to create an in-depth article debunking all of the false (or, at best, misleading) information that surrounded today’s launch of the Kindle DX.

It had the same title as this blog entry.

The article began:


Hush now, don’t explain
Just say you’ll remain
Unless you’re mad, don’t explain
–    Billie Holiday, Arthur Herzog

The subscription-only PublishersLunch remarked that “DX” must mean “didn’t explain,” noting that:

“The company still insists on calling the unit Kindle DX, though as far as we could tell, DX stands for “didn’t explain.” As in, didn’t explain the name; didn’t explain when it’s
available (except for “this summer”); didn’t explain any of the details of the textbook pilots; didn’t explain the incentive pricing to newspaper subscribers; and so on.”

Amazon’s announcement of the larger format Kindle DX is generating as much media coverage as the release of the Kindle 2, following on the reputed success of the original Kindle.

This summary article examines the claims made by Amazon and also by the wide-eyed sycophants in the press who have been infected with what is increasingly referred to as Bezosmania.

(The standard disclaimer: I’ve never worked with Amazon, its partners or competitors. And I’ve spent a ton of money with Amazon over the years, albeit not on Kindle eBooks, as these are still not available in Canada for reasons too obtuse to segue into here.)


Then I made the tactical error of having a hearty home-made dinner, and compounded the error by reading the recent “Digital Issue” of Advertising Age.

And when finished with the hype in that issue I could only think: who cares if the news surrounding the Kindle DX is 90% hype and 10% loose data?

People would far rather believe that Amazon is blazing trails (after all, it’s stock is up 60% this year).

Why rain on everyone’s parade? I can debunk virtually every Amazon and press statement issued today surrounding this product. But why bother?

Carry on…the sun is shining above the rain-sodden clouds in Seattle. All will be well.

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