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The CITE, a blog published by the National Association of College Stores, takes a look at the intersection of education and technology, highlighting issues that range from course materials to learning delivery to the student experience. Comments, discussion, feedback, and ideas are welcome.


Monday, November 26, 2007

Amazon Kindle sells out in less than 5 days!

The long awaited Amazon e-reader went on sale last week on Nov 19th. 5 days later all inventory was completely sold out. I read many of the reviews of the device on the Amazon site, but many of those doing the reviewing clearly had not seen the device -- they were complaining about features not being there that were. Thus we learn one of the challenges with wiki-like social systems -- not everyone contributing content is qualified to do so. Back to the main line of discussion though -- the Amazon Kindle sold out in just 5 days and is not due to be back in stock until Dec 3 -- about 7 days from now. Guess that makes the Kindle the "must have" device of the season.

Among the plusses of the kindle -- many reviews have noted that it is very easy to use. This may mean that we are getting close to a viable e-reader. The EVDO network (wireless-like networking capability) is a big plus, as is the ability to easily expand memory with chips. It's also possible to subscribe to major newspapers -- Times, Washington Post, etc. -- which is a nice feature.

Negative views of the kindle were most often linked to price -- but $400 seems comparable to me, and includes the cost of the EVDO network. There have been complaints about the charges for "free content" dowloading -- used to defray the network transmission costs. However, my understanding is that these can be bypassed by connecting the device to a laptop (I know, I know, kind of defeats the purpose). People have also complained about the fees to access blogs ($2/mo) and newspapers ($15/mo). We will see how this plays out. Technology costs are always dropping, so the costs may go down in time. In a first offering of a product like this you would probably expect prices to be a bit high at first .

Even with the high price, the device sold out in five days -- clearly exceeding Amazon's expectations for sales of the device. Perhaps the day of the e-reader and e-reading has arrived? Or maybe it will take the next device to enter the market. Rumor has it Apple is going to release something in 2008. Who knows...

-M

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