Kindle is $299; some textbooks are free.
The six-inch reading device is a favorite among busy professionals and frequent travelers. But the Kindle offers something for students, too: a textbook store. Amazon’s online bookshelf has titles in more than two dozen categories, from literary fiction to children’s chapter books to science and reference books. Prices range from free to a few hundred bucks. When we looked, some of the free titles available included Pride and Prejudice, The Art of War, and The Adventures of Sherlock Holmes. Thomas Paine’s Common Sense can be had for $1.60. And 501 Spanish Verbs—a book we couldn’t have survived grade school without—is $9.99.
$149.95 to $199.95; notebooks are $19.95 for four.
Pens that just write are so 2008. Soup up your kid’s note-taking skills with one that writes and records sound at the same time. The Pulse SmartPen has a built-in camera near the tip and a microphone for sound. Using special notebooks, you can record a math lesson, for example, and play it back later. The handwritten notes are linked with the audio so you can listen to a teacher’s lesson while reviewing notes at home. There are 1- and 2-GB varieties available. Accessories include leather cases for storage ($24.95) and a wall adaptor for charging it anywhere ($14.95).