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Law school reformers to consider Kindle, Sony
Seattle P-I

September 10, 2008

A typical law student lugs around 28 pounds of books worth about $1,000 per semester. In creating cutting-edge future lawyers, some legal professors say, paper is a problem.

"It's strange that kids that text message and carry iPods and BlackBerrys in their left hand carry in their right hands these heavy tomes called law school books," said Ronald Collins, a scholar at the nonprofit First Amendment Center in Washington, D.C. "The left hand is the future and the right hand is the past."

Are electronic books the future? Could companies like Amazon.com and Sony have the answer to heavy book bags?

To address such questions, representatives from law schools around the country, combined with book publishers and e-book device makers Amazon and Sony Electronics Inc., are expected to gather in Seattle on Sept. 27.

Abandoning the centuries-old paper course book is on the agenda.

It's becoming increasingly clear that the halls of academia are full of opportunity for Seattle-based Amazon.com Inc. to market its Kindle e-book reader.

And Amazon's presence at the Seattle workshop has gotten the attention of publishers.

"We realized that the most important element here was getting the publishers, and the first one we asked was Amazon," Collins said. "There's no way to better get the attention of the others than to ask the big kid on the electronic block."