Kindle Survey Confuses Intuitive with Familiar

Today’s Kindle news is that the Kindle DX is a failure with pilot programs in colleges. The "Kindle Flunked" article in The Register states:

"And a traditional hard-copy textbook is more usable — it’s easier and more intuitive to thumb through, search, and scribble on than an ebook…"

I think the students in this case are confusing "intuitive" with "familiar." If you’re a college student, you’ve been using printed books for at least 18 years, you’ve got a lot of experience with them, the paper "interface" is familiar. The Kindle (or any ebook reader) on the other hand is new and unfamiliar. While it may have a learning curve, so does finding something in a book. Hand a 4 year old a book and you’ll see what I mean. While they know how to flip pages, they don’t know how to find anything.

I think it would be premature for these test universities, students, or ebook manufacturers to declare that ebooks aren’t as "usable" for studying as print just because students haven’t learned how to best use ebooks. Given time, I think once students get up the ebook device learning curve, they’ll find the device benefits start to outweigh paper.

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One response to “Kindle Survey Confuses Intuitive with Familiar”

  1. DJ says:

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    MicrosoftInternetExplorer4

    I respectfully disagree with your opinion. I am a software developer for creating electronic books (HTML, ePub) as well as books for print (eg. PDF). I am also an avid reader, and I still prefer my books the old fashion way… paper.
    There’s something about holding the book and quickly "flicking" through the book. Something you cant so with an ebook or ePub.
    ".. students in this case are confusing "intuitive" with "familiar." – I disagree,  I am also a computer science major and I believe there is nothing better then the hard copy.

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