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Amazon Releases Kindle Cloud Reader

Amazon has released a new web app that allows users to access their Kindle library directly from their web browser. The app is called the Amazon Kindle Cloud Reader and is currently only compatible with Google Chrome and Safari web browsers (desktop or iPad).

The HTML5 Web reader was created in response to Apple’s new policies for their App Store. Amazon, along with other companies such as Barnes and Noble and Kobo, are no longer allowed to include links to external purchasing sites, such as the Kindle or Nook bookstore.

If you currently use these apps on an Apple device and have updated them recently, you’ll notice that the links to their bookstores have been removed. However, you may still access your library and read your books through the app.

UW Grad Students Test Out the Kindle DX

Photo courtesy of Jon ‘ShakataGaNai’ Davis (Wikimedia Commons)

The University of Washington was one of seven schools who participated in pilot studies of the Kindle DX eReader in higher education. The study was carried out by UW technology researchers in order to determine how well the eReader fits into academic reading. The results weren’t outstanding, but many remain optimistic.

The study followed 39 graduate students, who were given a Kindle DX at the beginning of autumn quarter 2009. By spring quarter 2010, less than 40 percent of the students were using the device on a regular basis.

But why? “There is no eReader that supports what we found these students doing,” says Alex Thayer, a UW doctoral student, “It remains to be seen how to design one.”

Some of the challenges encountered with the Kindle include difficulty switching between reading techniques such as skimming. Some students kept paper nearby to take notes while others used a separate computer to look up references more easily.

According to Charlotte Lee, a UW Human Centered Design and Engineering professor, “E-readers are not where they need to be in order to support academic reading.” However, she predicts that e-readers will reach that point “sooner than we think.”

Read the full article by Hannah Hickey here.