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Amazon and the Absent Conversation with Higher Ed
May 10, 2011 - 10:15pm should get to know us better. We'd like to get to know Amazon.

What company is so entrenched in our daily technology, content, and supply chain lives, yet that we have no relationship with anyone from the company?

How many times a week do you touch Amazon? What Amazon products and services do you use?

Maybe if you are using the Amazon Elastic Computing Cloud (EC2) or Amazon's Simple Storage Service (S3) you perhaps talk to someone who works for the company (although I doubt it). I'd be curious about the degree to which higher ed is using these services, (see Amazon Web Services (AWS) in education page for some details).

The ed tech community is certainly interested in Amazon. A search on the EDUCAUSE site reveals 791 hits for "Amazon", with a bunch of results around Amazon's cloud computing services and some presentations and resources on the Kindle. Amazon, however, does not seem to have a presence at higher ed and educational technology conferences and events. They were not amongst the list of exhibitors at the EDUCAUSE 2010 conference.

I don't know of anyone who works at Amazon who is interested in partnering with higher education, or of anyone at Amazon who comes from the world of higher ed.

Some things I'd like to discuss with an Amazon person higher ed person would be:

  • What's up Library Lending program for Kindle books that was announced on 4/20/11. Is Amazon planning to work with any academic libraries? Is Amazon planning to extend this library lending program to audibooks through its division?
  • Has Amazon thought about working with any University Presses, perhaps in efforts to increase the number of imprints available (as e-books), while lowering the costs?
  • Does Amazon have any special purchasing arrangements for higher ed institutions, faculty, staff and students? For instance, Amazon Prime memberships for all people who go to school or work in higher ed?
  • Amazon is increasingly streaming video content, and will even stream free for Prime members. Is there an opportunity to provide curricular video?
  • Has Amazon investigated leveraging the Kindle and e-book infrastructure to possibly disrupt the coursepack market?
  • The Cloud Drive service seems like it could have traction on campus - any partnerships or pilot programs?
  • Amazon seems like a natural platform and community to move into providing online higher education. Is anyone at Amazon thinking about this market?

This list just barely scratches the surface.

What would you be interested in talking to Amazon about? How can this conversation get started?


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