Amazon started marketing the Kindle DX specifically for Kindle textbooks on the DX’s new 9.7” screen. This is twice the size of the original model. The DX model is also marketed for usage with periodicals. Size was one of the largest hurdles facing the usage of Kindle textbooks, the graphics of which require expansion to a large size. Other complaints such as usability with the older Kindle models have also been resolved with the DX. The second generation DX is available for $329 in white or graphite, including global 3G capability, 4GB internal memory, inclinometer, and a thickness of only one third inch.
Amazon’s Kindle store has nearly thirty thousand Kindle textbooks, many works of fiction for literature courses but also many educational books covering topics ranging from physics and photography to software craftsmanship and the afterlife. Publishers like Houghton Mifflin do sell children’s games and textbook support materials in ebook form, but not largely specifically for the Kindle. The introduction of tablet devices into classrooms has only begun. Some states find them too costly, and some such as in Colorado and Florida purchased a tablet device for each student and teacher. School budgets are already extremely strained, but investment interest is still strong.
Many professors felt the original Kindle could not adequately meet university requirements. Students had difficulty taking notes, opening two files at once, and could not highlight or annotate the text. In March 2011, in response to digital sales topping any type of paper sales for the first time ever in February 2011, most major book publishers met and decided to invest heavily into e-books in order to turn the languishing book industry around by 2020. As recently as 2008 book publishers hardly had ebooks on their minds, much less Kindle textbooks. Textbook publishers are only beginning to plan for the truly large expansion of ebooks into schools. Companies such as Amazon and other competing ebook makers are poised to capture this market with Kindle textbooks, iPad books, and Nook books.
Houghton Mifflin offers children’s ebooks and etextbooks support materials according to state and category, chosen from reading/language arts, mathematics, science, social studies, pre-k, and from support materials, assessment system, intervention products and professional development. Many university presses and other small presses which publish scholarly material offer ebooks for Kindle. Larger publishers like McGraw-Hill, Pearson Education, and Kaplan team up with other companies to make their books available on tablet devices such as the Kindle. Interesting, the idea of advertisements in textbooks is beginning to take hold, and Kindle textbooks may be yet another venue for companies to promote their products to customers in their target demographic.
“Do FREE Kindle textbooks exist?” is a question asked a lot by Kindle student-owners. Well, the answer is YES. While there are some academic publications through Amazon that are free, students will most likely benefit more from utilizing free online textbooks available in PDF format (a file type supported by Amazon’s Kindle). There are tons of free PDF textbooks that students can download, go to our list here.