Mumbai’s SP Jain Institute of Management and Research has partnered with Amazon India to move MBA textbooks to Kindle e-readers, with each participant given a Kindle with e-copies of books and other reading material. According to a note from Amazon, over 50% of the textbooks for the new batch of Post Graduate Diploma in Management, are available on the Kindle, apart from case studies from Harvard Business Publishing and other reading material. Amazon has partnered with Pearson India and Harvard Business School Publishing for this.
Amazon’s pitch here is that the Kindle and the textbooks will remain with the students after they graduate, but the fact of the matter is that content on Kindle isn’t going to be owned by the students: it will only be licensed to them. You don’t “buy” books from the Kindle Store, you borrow them.
If you look at the Kindle’s terms and conditions, here’s what they say:
1. Kindle Content
Limitations. Unless specifically indicated otherwise, you may not sell, rent, lease, distribute, broadcast, sublicense, or otherwise assign any rights to the Kindle Content or any portion of it to any third party, and you may not remove or modify any proprietary notices or labels on the Kindle Content. In addition, you may not attempt to bypass, modify, defeat, or otherwise circumvent any digital rights management system or other content protection or features used as part of the Service.
Book Returns and Subscription Cancellations Terminations. You may return a book you purchase from the Kindle Store or cancel your subscription to a Periodical as permitted in our return and cancellation policy in the Kindle Store. We may terminate a subscription at our discretion, for example, if a Periodical is no longer available. If we terminate a subscription before the end of its term, we will give you a prorated refund. We reserve the right to change Periodical subscription terms and fees from time to time, effective as of the beginning of the next subscription term.
Risk of Loss. Risk of loss for Kindle Content transfers when you download or access the Kindle Content.
Note: “Kindle Content” means digitised content obtained through the Kindle Store, such as books, newspapers, magazines, Periodicals and other content.
Students might never end up referring to the case studies and books upon graduation, but if for some reason, Amazon terminates their account, they lose the ability to access that content ever again. It’s also not clear whether the case-study content provided by Harvard Business School Publishing will be linked to the Amazon account and available for syncing: syncing is important in case they lose the Kindle and have to move to a new one.
For all three companies (Amazon, Pearson and HBS), this is the beginning of a process: they can take the SP Jain instance and now pitch it to multiple schools and colleges. For Amazon, they help create a habit of purchasing content from the Kindle Store, and for Pearson, the cost of delivering textbooks is lower on digital than print/deadwood.