Testing the Kindle at UW

The State Journal has an interesting little story on a group of 20 students at the UW who are giving the Kindle digital book a test run.

As far as textbooks for college are concerned, I wish I'd had one during my time at UW - of course, back when I started college in 2001 it wouldn't have been an option, heck the iPod didn't even exist yet, but I digress - if only for the fact that I wouldn't have had to carry so many books around campus. Even though they cost a lot up front, it makes sense for incoming freshmen to buy one. If you add up the cost of textbooks over 4 years versus the cost of downloading them onto a Kindle, it could save hundreds, if not thousands.

But that's just for textbooks. I have to agree with one of the students interviewed in the article: "I've been raised reading books. I like the physicality of books. I like holding one. I like seeing how far I am."

I love being able to sit down and read a book. It's more fun to feel the pages in your hands. Two of my favorite authors are Michael Crichton and Robert Ludlum and are known for suspense and action. I think being able to see how many pages are left helps to make those types of books fun because you are often left guessing how it will end quickly or - when things look nice and tidy - what will happen to prolong the story.

As for my favorite novels, they are almost exclusively the classics. Hemingway's For Whom the Bell Tolls, Dickens' The Tale of Two Cities, or Dumas' Count of Monte Cristo and The Three Musketeers. I simply cannot fathom reading them on a lifeless computer screen.

The Kindle may be the future when it comes to textbooks and newspapers and technical works, but I hope there will always be a place for books. I just don't want to give those up. Anyone else have any thoughts?