Amazon are renting textbooks for the kindle. Over the last couple of months I’ve been using a Kindle. We bought it with the idea of seeing how it might be useful for educational content, eTextbooks at the most basic level, though I’ve already written about my misgivings on that score. Well, we quickly came to the conclusion that the Kindle device wasn’t much good for eTextbooks: no colour, screen refresh too slow for dynamic content, not good for non-linear content (breakout boxes, footnotes, even multiple columns)–sure it displays pdfs and HTML, but it’s difficult to get difficult to get a magnification that works well and navigating around the page is clunky, and it doesn’t do ePub. But it’s fine for novels and there may be some educational utility in the bookmarking, note making and the sharing of these that is possible (though making notes using the kindle isn’t a great user experience). Anyway, given all that it’s interesting to note that the textbooks shown in the Amazon ad I mention above rely on colour, are non-linear, and both of them would be really engaging if the diagrams were interactive or even just animated. Neither of them are being displayed on a Kindle.
[Aside: textbook rental might be an attractive idea for some, but pricing based on a typical rental of 30 days!?]