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Tomorrow’s Promises — Why the Kindle Won’t Have a Dramatic Impact on College Course Materials for at least Five Years

by Rob Reynolds

There has been significant buzz recently about Amazon’s announced plans to create a special version of its Kindle e-book reader of the college market. However, a Kindle reader for the college market will not have a significant impact on the price of textbooks or course materials for at least five years. [Disclosure: The author is a former teacher and administrator at a large public university, a former author and employee for multiple major textbook publishing companies, a parent to two college students, and the lead product designer for a proprietary online e-book platform built and sold by an educational software company.]

Understanding the College Textbook Business — How Sausage Gets Made

With the many articles written about textbook prices of late, there have appeared a number of general statements about the textbook publishing industry. These include claims that publishers profit at the expense of their authors, that publishers create unnecessary new editions of existing textbooks in order to drive the sale of new textbooks, and that publishers inflate artificially the prices of their textbooks simply to add to their profit.

There is no doubt that major textbook publishers are big business. The college textbook market represents

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