A bit of history.
Amazon.com has created a book reading device called “Kindle.” I’ve not used one myself, because of the sheer price of owning one ($359). From what I understand, they have a great screen that is easy on the eyes, and it actually reads like a book, making for a comfortable read that is also paperless.
Another important note is that the device only ways 10.3 ounces. You can, therefore, carry many books with you very easily. One thing that could really help to boost sales of Kindle, would be if Amazon.com were to give out free Kindle downloads of a book that you have ordered a physical copy of through their website. But that’s beside the point.
Kindle: College Edition
Based on some meetings with Amazon.com’s management, they are not only working on a new version of the Kindle, but they also see a big opportunity to market the e-book reader to college students. (via SeattlePI)
Amazon is planning on new versions of the Kindle, and will be specifically marketing the reader to college students, according to the PI’s summation of the report. There are a bunch of hurdles to getting it right — the reader would have to be designed to accommodate students’ needs, and publishers would have to be willing to change their pricing structure — but if Amazon can pull it off, the Kindle on campus is a no-brainer. (via AlleyInsider)
Some naysayers are saying that a laptop is all that is required for College Students, however:
But for academic publications, there seems particularly little need for an “Amazon Kindle Big,” as it were. And I imagine demand won’t be high, either. The reason being that students already invest in the ideal coursework tool: a laptop computer.
No, not everyone is privileged to own such a device. They still carry a premium for a number of K-12 students and undergrads and post grads alike. But given the option to spend considerable dollar amounts on a digital reader in one form or another, a laptop is most certainly the logical pursuit. They’re relatively easy to manage via a school network, they’re free to display and transmit data in all sorts of formats over the cloud, and they’re multifunctional. (Consume and produce.) (via Mashable.com)
There are a few small flaws in this argument. The first is that laptops also carry a premium. Not all laptops are created equal, though, and you could forgo some extra features and put that extra money into a Kindle.
The other flaw to the argument is that you can’t usually get the course books on a computer. It would be much more convenient, when going to a campus bookstore, to have kiosks where you can type in your student ID number or swipe your ID card, based on if you have it yet or not, and plug in your Kindle and get all of your books. Not only that, but at cut costs instead of spending over $500/year on course materials. The other side is that, if your course instructor is changed, they’ll sometimes require different books. Now you won’t have lost a ton of money, if you can’t return the books you’ve just purchased. It’d be easier to carry a laptop AND the one time fee of a Kindle (plus smaller fees for the course material) than five HEAVY books.
The cost of printing the textbooks would be offset, as would packaging and shipping costs. Publishers could stand to make twice as much at even half the sale price.
Digital distribution would especially catch on at schools that are teaching about sustainable business. In a world turning green, this is a way to go.
My point is, even if they do sell the books at well below the original costs, they’ll save college students a lot of money. As and added benefit to the company, they don’t make money off of used books, and with the Kindle, there would be no used books, so they will make money from every student every year, instead of waiting for schools to require new versions of the texts.
This could also open the doors to having history books be more up-to-date than ever before. Let’s say that through the year, some breaking world news happens, such as a presidential election. You could get a free update download of the latest version of the text. (This could be a bit problematic when citing the book, unless the Kindle also had a built-in citation tool.)
This would be especially beneficial to Med Schools, where the books tend to be gigantic and costly to print, and medical breakthroughs tend to happen frequently enough that the books could be constantly updated, making for better doctors trained on the absolute latest research.
What do you think? Would you purchase a Kindle with the promise of spending less on the course materials? Please comment below!