I’ve been talking a lot this week about the Amazon Kindle, and that’s because it’s been my major project at work this week. After learning about the update to 4.1 that adds parental controls, I got another great surprise today. The two teachers who are receiving the Kindles in their classroom submitted their lists of requested books to the principal. The principal then looked at the cost of each book and decided what books we could afford to buy based on the cost of each.

The problem with her math was that she assumed, like I did, that we would need to buy each book for each Kindle. So if the book costs $1 and we have 54 Kindles, it would cost $54 for just that one book. What I found out however was that for every Kindle book purchase you make, that book comes with multiple licenses. Most books come with six licenses, and the free ones come with 99 licenses. So using my previous example of the $1 book, it actually only costs $9 to put that book on 54 Kindles.

That’s a huge savings for just that one book. After finding this great piece of information we were informed by the principal that we would have enough money for all the books on the teacher’s list. This will, of course, make the teachers very happy.

When we were looking at the numbers and trying to figure out how much the Kindles would save the school in the long run, we never expected to see it pay itself off this quickly. Most of the books that we bought for the Kindles were ones that the school had owned in paperback form. The main reason purchasing Kindles even came up was because those books needed to be replaced. A paperback can only survive so many years in a classroom, at which point they just become unreadable.

We were expecting each Kindle with the books we needed to come in at about $90, but it looks like they will be closer to the $70 range, which is a huge savings. That should be less than what it costs to replace all the paperbacks, and as long as the students take care of the Kindles, they should last longer as well – but only time will tell.