Jan 212010
Authors: Ashley Watson

Instead of lugging around five different textbooks this semester, students now have the option to carry all of their books contained in one, slim piece of technology.

Compared with the average cost of textbooks spent by CSU students each semester –– the university bookstore estimates this is about $371 per student –– the Kindle, one of the many handheld, digital readers on the market today, could prove cheaper for students, depending on their major or the type of books needed.

Available in a 6-inch and 9-inch model, the Kindle costs approximately $259. People can download more than 31,500 textbooks ranging in cost from free to more than $500.

However, there are many texts not yet available in digital format.

In a Collegian search, in which one textbook was randomly selected from each academic aisle in the university bookstore, many of the books needed for CSU classes were not available in the Kindle format when later checked on Amazon.com.
Kindle owners can request that any book they need be converted into an electronic format through the Web site.
Some students were wary to transition into another tech-savvy habit.

When asked if he would be interested in adopting technology similar to the Kindle instead of buying textbooks, a senior political science major Travis Hall said, “It’s still a toss up, there’s a lot documents on RamCT.”
“But there’s something tactile about books, that you’ll never get with the Kindle,” he said.
Others were more open.

Kelly Lara, a senior history major, said he would purchase a Kindle and download textbooks onto it.
“I wouldn’t see anything wrong with it,” he said.

CSU’s bookstore carries e-readers, similar to the Kindle, but students and faculty are widely unaware of their uses and rarely buy them, said Margaret Gearhart, the assistant director of books and art/engineering supplies at the bookstore.
Since the start of the academic year, no one has requested a copy of an electronic textbook, Gearhart said.
In her experience, people who had tried digital readers were almost unanimously against ever using them again, regardless of the price comparison.

This is largely because most people don’t want to have to carry yet another piece of hardware in addition to their computers and mp3 players. And the book format for digital readers is not compatible with normal computers.
For those users worried about the effects of staring at the Kindle screen for extended periods of time, the screen offers 16 shades of gray to make reading on the display as similar as possible to reading paper, and even in direct sunlight, there is no glare.

Staff writer Ashley Watson can be reached at news@collegian.com.

What: the Kindle, a digital reader

*Characteristics: the screen offers 16 shades of gray to make reading on the display as similar as possible to reading paper, and even in direct sunlight, there is no glare.

*Versions: the Kindle comes with 2GB of space on the 6” display and 4GB on the larger 9.7” version. That translates to up to approximately 1,500 or 3,500 books, respectively.

*Battery life: on average, you can read on the Kindle for one week with the wireless Internet turned on and up to two weeks when it is turned off

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