Med Students: Would a College Edition of Kindle be Worth it?

In Med School by Paul Martin3 Comments

A bit of history.

Amazon.com has created a book reading device called “Kindle.” I’ve not used one myself, because of the sheer price of owning one ($359). From what I understand, they have a great screen that is easy on the eyes, and it actually reads like a book, making for a comfortable read that is also paperless.

Another important note is that the device only ways 10.3 ounces. You can, therefore, carry many books with you very easily. One thing that could really help to boost sales of Kindle, would be if Amazon.com were to give out free Kindle downloads of a book that you have ordered a physical copy of through their website. But that’s beside the point.

Kindle: College Edition

Based on some meetings with Amazon.com’s management, they are not only working on a new version of the Kindle, but they also see a big opportunity to market the e-book reader to college students. (via SeattlePI)

Amazon is planning on new versions of the Kindle, and will be specifically marketing the reader to college students, according to the PI’s summation of the report. There are a bunch of hurdles to getting it right — the reader would have to be designed to accommodate students’ needs, and publishers would have to be willing to change their pricing structure — but if Amazon can pull it off, the Kindle on campus is a no-brainer. (via AlleyInsider)

Some naysayers are saying that a laptop is all that is required for College Students, however:

But for academic publications, there seems particularly little need for an “Amazon Kindle Big,” as it were. And I imagine demand won’t be high, either. The reason being that students already invest in the ideal coursework tool: a laptop computer.

No, not everyone is privileged to own such a device. They still carry a premium for a number of K-12 students and undergrads and post grads alike. But given the option to spend considerable dollar amounts on a digital reader in one form or another, a laptop is most certainly the logical pursuit. They’re relatively easy to manage via a school network, they’re free to display and transmit data in all sorts of formats over the cloud, and they’re multifunctional. (Consume and produce.) (via Mashable.com)

There are a few small flaws in this argument. The first is that laptops also carry a premium. Not all laptops are created equal, though, and you could forgo some extra features and put that extra money into a Kindle.

The other flaw to the argument is that you can’t usually get the course books on a computer. It would be much more convenient, when going to a campus bookstore, to have kiosks where you can type in your student ID number or swipe your ID card, based on if you have it yet or not, and plug in your Kindle and get all of your books. Not only that, but at cut costs instead of spending over $500/year on course materials. The other side is that, if your course instructor is changed, they’ll sometimes require different books. Now you won’t have lost a ton of money, if you can’t return the books you’ve just purchased. It’d be easier to carry a laptop AND the one time fee of a Kindle (plus smaller fees for the course material) than five HEAVY books.

The cost of printing the textbooks would be offset, as would packaging and shipping costs. Publishers could stand to make twice as much at even half the sale price.

Digital distribution would especially catch on at schools that are teaching about sustainable business. In a world turning green, this is a way to go.

My point is, even if they do sell the books at well below the original costs, they’ll save college students a lot of money. As and added benefit to the company, they don’t make money off of used books, and with the Kindle, there would be no used books, so they will make money from every student every year, instead of waiting for schools to require new versions of the texts.

This could also open the doors to having history books be more up-to-date than ever before. Let’s say that through the year, some breaking world news happens, such as a presidential election. You could get a free update download of the latest version of the text. (This could be a bit problematic when citing the book, unless the Kindle also had a built-in citation tool.)

This would be especially beneficial to Med Schools, where the books tend to be gigantic and costly to print, and medical breakthroughs tend to happen frequently enough that the books could be constantly updated, making for better doctors trained on the absolute latest research.

What do you think? Would you purchase a Kindle with the promise of spending less on the course materials? Please comment below!

Paul Martin

Paul Martin

I am the Director of Multimedia at ProTrainings, as well as the primary blogger here. I take care of the video editing, graphic design and corporate branding that you see on every video and every page on this site, as well as at ProCPR®, ProFirstAid®, ProBloodborne, StudentCPR, etc. My work is literally everywhere that ProTrainings goes. I also handle our Twitter accounts, so be sure to follow us there, if you use twitter! You can be sure that I’m not just an average joe writing this blog, but one of the founders of the company.

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Comments

  1. Rob Antecki

    Ironically, a friend and I are working on an anti-kindle anti-digital blog right at this moment, to be bundled with our EP.

    My personal opinion: I despise Kindle. I don’t understand why we are trying to improve upon something that has carried humanity from the dark ages to our modern times and worked for over 500 years. Books and printed literature are still more convenient, easier to read and use, and sport MUCH higher resolution than any digital device (including high res computer monitors). Books and libraries are proletariat and enable the common man, the rich, and the homeless equal access to knowledge without the need for any added technology. Books and magazines are more comfortable (I doubt anyone will be curling up with a Kindle anytime soon or taking one into the restroom), more durable, easier to read, and work without electricity. You can comfortably mark up written material as well. The Kindle especially has a very low print resolution which becomes apparent with extended reading or side by side book comparison, and a long screen refresh time. Also, the fact that every book you read will have the same or a similar format is also boring and monotonous.

    When I study, I usually have four or five open books in front of me with only a glance needed to go between one of the other, all marked up, with my notes as well. Studying on a Kindle just doesn’t add up to this.

    That being said, I would definitely buy such a device for the times when it is really called for, i.e., a long plane flight where you might want to take a few books but don’t want to carry around 25 extra pounds, etc.

    I am not anti-technology, I am just anti replacing things that already work better and are move convenient just because a “sexier” technology comes through. Same with LP’s. I listen to digital music for convenience, but for real listening, its strictly the higher quality vinyl. Technology should compliment old methods, not replace them.

    Where I work, they stress the latest paper’less and green technology, and most of our materials are accessible online, and yet the first thing everyone does is print it out and go find a comfortable chair and a cup of coffee. For hard core studying with good old books, paper, and pens, a Kindle would never work for me, not for most people, I think. For other purposes, sure.

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