kindle students

College leads the way on 'books' with a difference

Bags laden with books may no longer be the hallmark of future students, if trials at Somerset College, Taunton, are a success.

A pilot project to download huge text books onto tiny Kindles (the portable electronic reading devices from Amazon), is putting the College at the forefront of technology - on a par with major universities around the country.

If the project is successful it means thousands of course book titles could be downloaded onto the hand held Kindles, which are the size of thin, small books.

The project is being trialled by the College library and the Technology division, with 94 text book titles downloaded onto four Kindles, to be assessed over several weeks by students and staff.

“There are wonderful advantages in being able to use course books on Kindle,” said Jolanta Peters, Research & Library Services Manager.

“Students can view thousands of text books on one small Kindle, take it wherever they want, change the print size to suit their needs, have text converted to speech, and much more.

“From the library point of view it could save enormous amounts of space as more and more book titles and editions come out.”

It took Ms Peters just over three hours to download the 94 titles onto four Kindles and, the supplier told her, it was the first time they had such a request from a College library rather than an individual user. 

The College already has over 3,000 ‘e-book’ course titles which students can view on computer, many of them given through the National E-books Observatory Project, run by the government until 2014. Its aim is to gather knowledge and stimulate the course text e-books market.

These plus potential widespread use of Kindles, adds up to a wide range of technological possibilities for College students.

“We have researched the use of Kindles and don’t know of other education establishments using them for text books, but if there are it would be good to work together and plan for the future,” said Ms Peters.

Caption:  Research & Library Services Manager Jolanta Peters, with student Alan Bohdanowicz, right, carrying a few of the 94 titles being trialled on a Kindle, held by student Edward Russell.