Here’s How Amazon Wants to Help Educate the World

Amazon (NASDAQ:AMZN) is making a push into the education market. On October 17, the company announced “Whispercast for Kindle,” a platform designed to allow schools and interested businesses to efficiently deliver digital content to students or employees.

“Whispercast provides a single access point to easily purchase and distribute Kindle books and documents for educational, marketing and employee incentive programs across Kindle devices and free Kindle reading applications for iPad, iPhone, Android phones and tablets, PCs and Macs,” reads the press release.

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“Hundreds of thousands of students around the world are already reading on Kindle,” said Amazon Kindle VP Dave Limp in the release. Whispercast is a free, self-service tool aimed at allowing schools to take advantage the trend toward tablet use for reading. E-books offer several obvious advantages over traditional print, such as weight, cost, and ease of distribution.

“We want to make it as easy as possible for everyone to own a Kindle device. Any time we can make that easier, we do that,” said Jay Marine, vice president of Kindle product management, according to Reuters. “And we have a particular mission to increase reading, especially among kids.”

To aid this mission, Amazon has been offering bulk-purchase discounts on the Kindle for schools. Bulk discounts for e-books could also be in the pipeline.

Amazon isn’t the first tablet maker to have this idea. Apple’s (NASDAQ:AAPL) iPad has seen relative success in schools. The company reportedly came close to doubling its year-over-year sales of iPads in the U.S. education market in the second quarter of 2012. On its website, the company profiles the role the iPad played in helping improve the quality of education at Northwest Kansas Tech.

Case studies across America suggest that tablets and digital content can go a long way in improving the quality of education. Barnes & Noble (NYSE:BKS) and Microsoft (NASDAQ:MSFT) may be looking in that direction with the advent of Nook Media, a subsidiary that includes Barnes & Noble’s Digital and College Businesses.

Google (NASDAQ:GOOG) even has a foot in the door with “Android 4 Schools,” an initiative designed to help schools figure out how to use Android applications and tablets in the classroom.

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