Thursday, May 7, 2009

Kindle 2: a good way to save money on college textbooks


Amazon yesterday introduced the bigger, better, and more expensive Kindle 2. Retailing at $489, it seems a bit pricy, right? But if you're a college student, you will actually save money if you buy the Kindle 2 and download electronic textbooks instead of buying physical textbooks.

According to NPR:

For students, the biggest advantage [of buying the Kindle 2] could be the lower cost of electronic textbooks. Reading material on the Kindle is consistently less expensive than printed versions, with new releases of mass-market books typically costing $10, for example.

A 2005 Government Accountability Office report said the average [textbook] cost is $900 per year for students at four-year public colleges, though the textbook industry argues the figure is closer to $625. Typically the prices are high because publishers are trying to capture as many sales as possible in the first year of release, before students can buy used versions.

Though Amazon currently sells physical textbooks, Bezos says he believes electronic versions will eventually dominate. "It just makes so much sense," he said.

Jeff Bezos, Amazon's C.E.O., unveiled the Kindle 2 at Pace University. The New York Times writes:

Geoffrey Brackett, the provost of Pace, said the university would distribute the new Kindles to about 50 students and compare them with 50 studying the same material using traditional textbooks, to see differences in how the two groups learn.

Mr. Brackett said he expected the university to split the cost of the Kindles with Amazon but said whether the students would get the devices on loan or as a gift had not been determined.

The new version has a screen more than twice as big as the original Kindle. It will be available sometime this summer.

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