Amazon Confirms Student Version Of Kindle

Amazon confirmed our speculation that they are planning to target colleges and universities with a new version of the Kindle, reports the Seattle PI. Textbooks are a $5.5 billion annual market, and most publishers now offer electronic versions of their textbooks. McGraw-Hill Education, for example, publishes 95% of their books electronically as well as in print. But there is no compelling device to read them on. The new Kindle will likely be a large screen version of the original, which is much better suited for textbooks.

Amazon also downplayed our estimates that 240,000 Kindles have been shipped since launching last November. Citi analyst Mark Mahaney later increased his sales estimates as well.

Amazon officials gave McAdams Wright Ragen analysts the impression that high-end estimates on Kindle sales reported by TechCrunch and a Citigroup analyst are not reasonable. (See a previous blog post on the topic here and here.)

Amazon managers “told us that the Kindle is definitely selling very well, but they also said the analysts and reporters giving out these extremely high estimates ‘did not run them by company,'” Bueneman wrote.

We’re sticking by our sources on the estimates of units shipped from the factories in China. Amazon is correct that we didn’t “run them by company” prior to publishing, but since they don’t comment on non-public sales figures, it wouldn’t have been a useful exercise anyway.