SEATTLE — It's an experiment that has made back-to-school a little easier on the back: Amazon.com gave more than 200 hundred college students its Kindle e-reading device this fall, loaded with digital versions of their textbooks.
But some students are finding they miss the decidedly low-tech conveniences of paper – highlighting, flagging pages with sticky notes and scribbling in the margins.
"I like the aspect of writing something down on paper and having it be so easy and just kind of writing whatever comes to my mind," says Claire Becerra, a freshman at Arizona State University.
Becerra tried typing notes on the Kindle's small keyboard, but when she went back to reread them she found they were laden with typos and didn't make sense. After a month, she says she takes far fewer notes and relies on the Kindle's highlighter tool instead.
Amazon wants to adapt the Kindle to academia, where it could reduce the notoriously high cost of textbooks. The Kindle DX, with a larger screen than the regular model, costs $489, but digital books can cost less than half what physical ones do.