Peter Kafka

Recent Posts by Peter Kafka

How to Afford a Kindle DX: Wait Three Years, Stay Away From Beer

belushi_in_animal_houseIs the Kindle DX, currently priced at $489, too expensive to make a splash on college campuses? Only if you’re small-minded about it, argues Douglas Anmuth.

The Barclays analyst figures that Amazon will be generating some $700 million a year from the oversized Kindle by 2012. Overall, he says, the Kindle line will be a $3.7 billion business then.

I still think observers are underestimating the amount of effort it will take to get colleges–which move about as quickly as a DMV line at lunchtime–to adopt the Kindles. But let’s say the gadget does make headway with administrators and faculty. Who’s going to shell out $489 a pop for a gadget when that money could go to essentials—like beer.

For starters, let’s assume that the devices will see a big price drop in three years, just like every other consumer electronics device. It’s also possible that Amazon (AMZN) works out student discounts with college campuses in the same way that Apple (AAPL) used to many moons ago.

But even at $489, Anmuth argues, the Kindle DX would pay for itself in less than three years since it could (theoretically) save students $195 a year in textbook costs.

His math:


Of course, these numbers only work if you don’t have to replace your Kindle periodically because it falls victim to a beer bong or whatever else the kids are up to these days. But what do I know? I graduated from college in the pre-email days. Maybe the young people of today take exceptionally good care of their consumer electronics…

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