Cheaper ad-supported Kindle may be the student dealmaker (or not)

Summary:Amazon's Kindle will be ad-supported for a $25 initial discount. But the library e-book system is a key variable to continue to dissuade students from the e-book reader.

I've been pretty critical of the Kindle up until now. Though it seems students on the most part would rather take a book out of the library than buy a Kindle, a cheaper albeit ad-supported model may entice the younger audience.

In theory, a Kindle - an easy-to-read device, with a search function and referencing capabilities, should be a hoot for all students. But, it has yet to be seen.

The new Kindle will only come in a $25 off device, which frankly is nothing - even for cash strapped students. Though, ads will not be part of the content of the book or e-book; rather displayed on the home screen and in screensavers during device downtime instead.

Library books are free. They're free to take out, and they're free to steal, if you can get away with it. But for those without a crippling sense of kleptomania, the Kindle's biggest downfall for the student market is the 'top up fees': where one has to buy books to read them.

It sounds simple enough, and why should one argue with that? You buy books, and you draw research from them. But university students don't want to buy wherever possible. This is why the library is still key in studying for a degree.

However, the question here should be, will the initial cheaper cost of a Kindle entice in students who will then need to go on to top up their device with for-fee content?

Frankly, it won't. Until library books are somehow available in e-book format, then e-readers have a chance. But, for that, it would come at great expense to the university itself, and the Kindle would be a far more expensive option as the key functionality would be in essence, entirely negated.

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Topics: Tablets

About

Zack Whittaker writes for ZDNet, CNET, and CBS News. He is based in New York City.

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