Last May, Ironman at Political Calculations asked this question and, after going through numerous calculations, concluded
Going with our hypothetical example, it very much pays for our college student to buy the Kindle DX, assuming that they're able to also get the textbooks they will need for their classes in the Kindle format, since we obtain a positive value for the Cumulative Net Present Value Adjusted for Early Salvage. If that value had come out to be negative, then either our college student would need to really crank up their reading of non-textbooks while in school or would really have to place a much higher "warm fuzzy" on owning their own Kindle DX.
I saved a link to that posting for several reasons.
- I don't know how Kindles work, never having seen one in person (see below), but I never learned as much from my textbooks if I didn't write in them... argue with the author, write questions, try out ideas, etc. I'm not keen on electronic texts of any sort if this feature is lacking. What I am trying to say is that students should consider more than just the comparative net present value of the options when deciding whether to buy a Kindle, and the value of the learning experience is one of those additional things deserving consideration.
- Despite Amazon's launch of the international version of Kindles, we still are unable to buy them in Canada. Apparently, this situation has arisen because Amazon is still negotiating with cellular phone services about who will provide the download services to the Kindle. We might have considered buying Kindles at one point, but we can't in Canada (and buying one in the US makes no sense unless we load it up with things to read while we're are visiting there).
- I read novels on my iPhone using Stanza. So does Ms. Eclectic. There are tonnes of novels available, many at very low prices, and an iPhone is much easier to carry around than either hard copies or maybe even a Kindle. I have about 20 novels on my phone now plus some scripts for plays, in addition to all the other apps that are so much fun. And it is all in one neat package, along with tonnes of music.