Home » Amazon, Ebooks, Ebooks in Education » City partners with Amazon for $30 M. e-book contract

City partners with Amazon for $30 M. e-book contract

30 July 2015

From Capital New York:

The Department of Education is about to approve a $30 million contract with Amazon to create an e-book marketplace for New York City’s 1,800 public schools.

The Amazon deal will be one of the D.O.E.’s most expensive contracts and one of the city’s few significant deals with a leading technology company. The contract will also create the department’s first unified e-book marketplace.

Schools chancellor Carmen Fariña has said she wants to boost the department’s technology credentials.

. . . .

Amazon will provide contracted content, such as widely used textbooks, along with non-contracted content, largely books and texts that individual schools select. Non-contracted content will be purchased directly from Amazon, and the D.O.E. is expecting both types of content to be provided at low prices via Amazon.

All the content can be used on a variety of devices, including smartphones, tablets, PCs and Macs.

. . . .

“We’ve listened closely to educators and this new marketplace will address many of the major current concerns of our schools relating to school texts: not having enough space for textbooks and primary resources, the physical decay and loss of books, not being able to easily compare options and prices, and not being able to exchange book licenses with other classrooms and schools,” Devora Kaye, a D.O.E. spokeswoman, said in a statement.

Link to the rest at Capital New York

Amazon, Ebooks, Ebooks in Education

13 Comments to “City partners with Amazon for $30 M. e-book contract”

  1. What are poor kids going to do when they get home?

    Or is the city going to give them computers too?

    Funny how some schools can’t afford current textbooks but the DOE has $30 million for Amazon.

    • It isn’t $30 million for Amazon, it is $30 million for the school system. It sounds to me like they’re doing it this way to get current textbooks at a better price. Your first comment is a valid concern. I wonder if there aren’t some Kindles included in the plans for those without other usable devices.

      • “It isn’t $30 million for Amazon, it is $30 million for the school system.”

        “The Department of Education is about to approve a $30 million contract with Amazon”

      • I can’t speak for all disciplines, but any student in engineering or the sciences will probably come out ahead on this, assuming they can get the etext for under fifty bucks, they’re saving money on the first book. They’d even be able to lose a few kindles and still be saving cash.
        ETA just realized this is about public schools. Should still save the dept a lot of cash…

    • Last year, the school system where I live issued iPads to all the students in a specific grade. It was a trial program that must have resulted in something positive because this year they’ve expanded it to other grades. But I wondered the same thing re the kids in the NYC school system.

    • “What are poor kids going to do when they get home?”

      You can get serviceable Android phones for $20 or so nowadays, far less than the hundreds of dollars that textbooks cost. Free wifi is everywhere, even at McDonalds. 🙂

      • A Raspberry Pi for $35 can plugin to almost any digital TV (add a mouse and keyboard for ~$10 if you can’t scrounge them up, and $5 for cables to connect things)

        But I agree, kindles or tablets are probably going to be what most end up using.

      • Tablet/phone technologies are practically the native technology for under privileged communities. I worked in a heavily disadvantaged urban school district last year and the penetration of smart phones and tablets was nearly 100%. From just my class, about half of my 5th graders had their own smartphones or smart-devices. All but one had access to one at home. Classroom was 90% free-and-reduced lunch (poverty benchmark).

      • Smartphone/tablet technology is the native technology of underprivileged communities. I worked in a traditional high-poverty urban school district last year and smart-tech penetration was almost 100%. From my class of 5th graders alone, about half had their own smartphone or smart-device and all but one had access to one at home. My classroom had 90% meeting the criteria for free-and-reduced lunch (aka the poverty benchmark).

        Editing to add only three of my students had a confirmed computer at home.

  2. The school system will still need to provide books for children in low income neighborhoods. There are many children who live in homes that literally do not have any technology because anything of value is hocked, sold, traded or stolen so the item can be hocked, sold or traded. We could wish the world operated the way we like to think, but it does not. Education is our most valuable tool in fighting poverty and ignorance and it will take extra effort by the educated to see that all children have equal access in learning.

    • This is simply not true. I posted above about how prevalent smart-tech is among disadvantage communities. My experience is at an urban school located in a neighborhood with high gang and drug activity. Almost everyone had access to at least a basic smart-phone.

      These communities are aware how important the Internet and staying connected are. The Internet is not a luxury and just about everyone in these communities holds a device, even if they can’t pay to keep the contract/minutes topped off. They us the wifi from McDonalds or the bodega or wherever.

      • I was low-income or middle class throughout my childhood, and though I technically had access in the home to electronics, that access was…erratic. It wasn’t unusual for one parent to cut power and/or Internet to the upstairs just because s/he was annoyed with my sibling or me. Much of my memory is missing before that, but severed access from my schoolwork did not strike me as unusual.

        Even as an adult, my own belongings were not infrequently taken from me without my consent.

        Don’t underestimate abusive parents. That is who Tiffee is referring to.

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