Princeton University to publish Kindle textbooks

University students should be hot for Amazon's e-reader, which can ease their backpack pain, help them pinpoint text, and maybe help them avoid the student bookstore.

Another prestigious school is embracing Amazon's Kindle e-reader.

Princeton University has announced that it will start printing Kindle-edition textbooks this fall, according to a story in The Christian Science Monitor.

Princeton follows Yale, Oxford, and UC Berkeley in creating textbooks for the Kindle. In the United States, there are about 2,500 four-year universities, so Amazon still has a long way to go.

But the Kindle should appeal to university students better than other demographics.

I wrote this week that I was putting off buying a Kindle until I learn whether I can read digital books on the iPhone 3G, which goes on sale July 11. If the handheld enables me to read e-books well enough, I'll probably pass on the Kindle. The reason is simple: the iPhone gives me much more for my money.

Students, on the other hand, do so much reading that they may be thankful for a device that can help save their backs. Instead of schlepping 10 pounds of textbooks, the Kindle can hold about 200 titles and it weighs only 10 ounces.

Instead of having to thumb through pages, students can find text instantly with Kindle's search feature. It also allows a user to highlight text and make notes.

It's been a long time since I was in school, but I remember those long lines to buy books in September and January. Contrast that with Kindle's wireless service and the ability to download books off the Web from almost anyplace.

Back then, I would have been glad to buy a Kindle.

Tip: At Amazon, Kindles are advertised now for $359, but it might pay to check out eBay. Ina Fried, my colleague here at CNET, paid $329 at the auction site this week and used Microsoft's Live Search cashback offer to get an additional 20 percent off. Total cost: $264.

Update 12:45 p.m.:I've learned that there's a strong bond between Princeton and Amazon. The company's founder, Jeff Bezos, is an alumnus of the university, class of 1986. I obtained the information from co-worker and former Tiger Caroline McCarthy (2006).

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