Should Amazon Offer Education Discount like Apple?

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Why not? It is an accepted practice that hardware and software vendors offer reduced pricing for educators. I mean, even Microsoft does it, and these guys are not known for leaving money on the table. So why not Amazon and why not the Kindle?

The practice is not all generosity of spirit for Steve Jobs, Bill Gates, and a slew of other very wealthy technology magnates; there is a bit of self interest involved in discounting as well. The reasoning goes something like this: giving up margin on your products for a narrow segment of your business like education can be a win-win if your marketing and publicity folks are worth their salt. Not only are you embedding your technology and your brand into a very large group of organizations that, at one time or another, touch every single American alive, but you are also permitted, in doing so, to put phrases like “Microsoft Loves Teachers” and “Building America’s Future, One Mac at a Time.” And because you are still charging good money for these goods and services, while making it look like you are giving them away, the impact on the bottom line is only mildly rather than insanely lucrative as it is in your other markets.

Giving a discount to a good cause also validates the prices you are charging your other customers. Nobody expects to pay what teachers pay, so paying more seems quite reasonable. Voila! Maximum exposure to rising and future generations, good citizen awards all around, and a buttressing of your pricing power. It’s the trifecta!

So, Mr. Bezos, how about a break on the Kindle for educators who want to experiment with your remarkable device? If you think they are, as a group, too small for such consideration, just look at what they did for Apple in the past thirty or so years:

Apple’s sustained growth during the early 1980s was in great part due to its leadership in the education sector, attributed to an implementation of the LOGO Programming Language by Logo Computer Systems Inc., (LCSI), for the Apple II platform. The success of Apple and LOGO in the education environment provided Apple with a broad base of loyal users around the world. The drive into education was accentuated in California by a momentous agreement concluded between Steve Jobs and Jim Baroux of LCSI, agreeing with the donation of one Apple II and one Apple LOGO software package to each public school in the state. The arrangement, (eventually replicated in Texas), established a strong and pervasive presence for Apple in all schools throughout California, that ignited the acquisition of Apple IIs in schools across the country. The conquest of education became critical to Apple’s acceptance in the home, as parents supported children’s continued learning experience after school [emphasis mine]. (Source: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Apple_Inc.)

And now, with the advent of the iPad in education, Apple proposes to increase its lead by continuing its educator-friendly policies. We just got our iPad 2 through the educator section of the Apple site and, although the discount amounts to free shipping for an individual educator, there is a presence at Apple that supports and solicits educational use of its products. Now, the “Volume Purchasing Program” that Apple offers for the “apps” that drive the use of the iPad ensures that educators can access and use the iPad in the classroom without petitioning the company for a way to do so.

Amazon could tear a page from this playbook if it were truly interested in seeing the Kindle make a mark in schools around the country.

  7 comments for “Should Amazon Offer Education Discount like Apple?

  1. Lynn
    August 28, 2011 at 11:15 am

    We have 2 Kindles and 3 Nooks in my elementary school. I have the same content on them, but when I just looked at my amazon account, only one of them is registered…I wonder if they took one of them off. I wonder if I register it, if all the content currently on will disappear. I’m certainly glad I have 3 Nooks –
    I have generally been unhappy with B&N and Amazon in terms of there unwillingness to work with libraries. I’m wondering what Cushing Academy and others who have many many Kindles are going to do…how disrespectful of Amazon! Shame on them!

  2. Carolyn
    June 27, 2011 at 12:39 pm

    For most instances, I agree. I’m in a quandary for my own situation: we are doing a small research study in a local school (I’m a little-frog researcher at a big-pond university) and I actually did look at which eReader would do the best for us. For our research to be as accepted as possible, we cannot appear to be hyping the Kindle (which is the one we’ve decided upon). So, I don’t want to explicitly get a discount to say “look how great the Kindle is” and I don’t want to be beholden to them for that.

    I *wouldn’t* mind if there were some way of getting a quantity discount or generic education discount (not dependent on us touting them specifically) or even a linkup with someone at Amazon who could pull some strings to help me manage the books for the kids better. I also even more so would like an easy way to keep them from accessing things they should not, but that’s a different topic…

  3. Joe
    June 15, 2011 at 8:46 am

    Amazon should offer an education discount. However, it’s unfair to compare this to Apple.

    Apple inflate their prices up front – given the religious fervour that their faithful have for the brand they happily rip-off their customers. Anyway, because they inflate the price from the off, it’s easy for them to appear generous when they are still ripping people off for the sake of a shiny case and little logo.

  4. willd
    May 28, 2011 at 9:02 am

    Good thought! They are pretty close to giving it away now, and there are rumors that they plan to offer it for free if you commit to purchasing a certain number of books.

  5. May 28, 2011 at 5:51 am

    What better way to spread the Kindle than offering educators and students large discounts. Do this and you all but guarantee the Kindle will proliferate into schools and uni’s.

    For Amazon, the money is not in the device but in the sales of eBooks. So, come on Amazon be brave and take the next step! Indeed, why not just give the Kindle away and own the entire book market!

  6. May 23, 2011 at 6:57 am

    Yes of course amazon should offers discount rate like apple.Giving a discount may increase the sale rate of the products.People always go for a discounted rate products.

  7. May 13, 2011 at 3:22 am

    Yes of course amazon should offer the educational discount.It will be beneficial for not only students or teachers but for amazon also.Mostly people buy the discount offer products so if amazon will provide a discount offer then it might be helpful in increasing their sale rate.

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