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The release of the new Amazon Kindle Fire last week has prompted a new round of interest and excitement about the potential for students to lighten the load in their backpacks, so heavily weighted down with heavy textbooks. The Kindle Fire, cheaper than the iPad and an Android tablet to boot, is the latest new hope for digital course materials.

I wrote my review of the Kindle Fire's potential as an educational tablet last week, and I was deeply skeptical that, even with that $199 price tag, the Kindle Fire would win over the educational market. Since then, I have actually shipped the device back, feeling pretty dissatisfied about the Kindle Fire as a tablet or as an e-reader.

Despite my doubts about the device itself, the news cycle surrounding the Kindle Fire has provided an opportunity for me to get in touch with a number of textbook publishers, digital content services, and textbook rental providers. As such, I can't help but wonder -- Kindle Fire's success or no -- what the future of the college bookstore will look like.

You can read the rest of the story at Inside Higher Ed.

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Audrey Watters


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