“Case Western Reserve University students will be among the first in the nation to use textbooks on the new Kindle electronic reader next fall, using a large-screen version of the device to be unveiled today in New York.
Students in the chemistry, computer science and freshman seminar classes using the handheld Kindle next fall at CWRU will be asked to compare their experience to that of classmates using traditional paper textbooks, Lev Gonick, the university’s chief information officer, said in the Wall Street Journal on Tuesday.” Continue for commentary…
First, this is a wonderful idea, if the goal of the university and publishers is to reduce publishing and printing costs.
Second, the average Kindle edition of a book is 80% of the regular priced print edition. Therefore, if the average textbook costs $100, then the Kindle edition would be roughly $80.
Third, while this is a donated electronic item, would that apply in the future? Or, will students have to front the cost of this $489 item. Or is the item a gift to incoming freshman on behalf of the university?
Last, the cost of the Kindle DX + 5 textbooks = $889. In contrast to 5 textbooks in print edition = $500. The breakeven of this item would happen sometime around the students 3rd year of school (5th semester). This is assuming that ALL textbooks are offered in Kindle edition, and that electronic verision remains 80% of the cost of the print edition.
Kindle DX Plus 5 eTextbooks v. 5 Print textbooks
- $889 v. $500
- $1,289 v. $1,000
- $1,689 v. $1,500
- $2,089 v. $2,000
- $2,489 v. $2,500
- $2,889 v. $3,000
- $3,289 v. $3,500
- $3,689 v. $4,000
So, is this worth it? Maybe, but given the fact that electronic waste is more harmful to the environment then just harvesting trees & printing books – if the entire point was to become a “green” campus – then their goal of being green is a missed one. In fact, it is actually more “eco-friendly” to print all information on paper than to pass out these Kindle devices that requiring LCD manufacturing and their eventual disposal is harmful. Besides, that good old book I can sell back, how can I sell back my e-Textbook? In addition, if I want to keep the book the print edition will be on my shelf 50 years from now, what about the Kindle’s life expectancy?
Not “sold” on the idea yet for this particular implimentation. While the Kindle is really cool, I’m not sure this is it’s best use.
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