Remember how much college textbooks costs? Maybe you’ve bought some recently. It’s horrendous! And the reason is not that many are printed. These tomes are not best sellers in most cases. They’re thick, they have illustrations, and they are expensive to print. Double expensive because the printing runs are not for very many copies.
Enter Amazon’s plans to introduce a new Kindle with an 8 1/2 x 11″ screen. Perfect! Kindling (sorry Fahrenheit 451 fans) textbooks is brilliant. Radically lower the cost of delivery by eliminating printing and going digital and you can sell them cheaper and still raise eveyrone’s margins. Plus the kids were raised in a digital world, so they’re ready for it. On top of all that, those old textbooks are heavy! I would so like to carry a Kindle instead.
And why aren’t University libraries being set up around Kindle technology? Why keep all those crazy books? Set up a server in a basement somewhere, create some sort of library checkout licensing scheme (Amazon would administer this), and voila! Everything is computerized. Books are still checked out, so only 1 (or however many the license allows) can have a book at a time, the computer can force the return of the book when it is due.
Huge potential for digital books going forward. I’m going to watch Amazon closely.