Why we are doing an e-reader pilot:
E-readers are now commonly seen on the Princeton campus in the hands of both faculty members and students. Some have asked if course materials at Princeton might be made available for e-readers. Users of e-readers cite convenience, portability, long battery life, and large storage capacity as compelling reasons for their use in courses at Princeton.
A driving factor in the launch of this pilot was the patterns of printing on campus. Statistics show that students are not reading digital articles and book selections on their computer screens, but rather downloading the same files again and again, and printing them multiple times in the course of a semester. Reasons cited for this are the fact that it is difficult to read a complex article on a computer screen, that files are printed whenever students have the opportunity to read them, and that hard copies are easier to highlight and annotate for study purposes. Even when hard copies of reserve readings are provided, students prefer to photocopy them, rather than read the originals in the Library.
With an e-reader, one can easily carry a year's worth or more of course readings in a lightweight device, can search for content, and can annotate, bookmark, or highlight readings. The e-reader pilot at Princeton seeks to target the types of readings that are most downloaded, printed, photocopied at Princeton—which is to say the electronic and print reserve materials required for many courses—and deliver them by means of an e-reader instead.