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Should Colleges Subsidize Print News, Or Switch to Kindle?

This week Wesleyan University announced that an anonymous donor had given the school $20,000 to subsidize paper New York Times subscriptions for students for the next two years. One hundred and fifty miles away at Princeton University, students booted up their new education-model Amazon Kindles this week. Which has been the best solution?

At Wesleyan, a stunning 75% of the student body says they read the Times, and almost 50% say they read it every day. If they're being honest, free copies of the Times should disappear with alacrity. But over at Princeton, students are having a decidedly negative reaction to the Kindle, reported their University newspaper this morning.

Students are complaining that their usual style of study — dog-earring pages, adding Post-Its, highlighting and underlining — has been disrupted by the e-reader. "All these things have been lost," says one student in the Daily Princetonian. "And if not lost they’re too slow to keep up with my thinking, and the ‘features’ have been rendered useless," he says. (Below, the Kindle 2.)

The Kindle is being pilot-tested in three classes, which have loaded all their assigned readings into the devices. Professors don't seem pleased either, however. "I require a very close reading of texts," says one professor in the Princetonian. "The question is whether you can do them [sic] as effectively with a Kindle as with paper."