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Amazon sending Kindle to college

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Amazon is planning a new student-friendly version of its Kindle e-book reader, according to McAdams Wright Ragen analyst Tim Bueneman.

He recently told the Seattle Post-Intelligencer that Amazon has high hopes for the device in the lucrative college textbook market. The book vendor is reportedly now working on at least one system redesign to accommodate the school-faring crowd.

"There are already several new, improved versions of the Kindle in the works," he told the publication in an e-mail.

"We guess the new version will have improved interface operating controls," he continued. "This has been an issue with some buyers."

Bueneman apparently arrived at the conclusion based on meetings with Amazon management. He further points out that the online book seller currently has no plans to add MP3 playing functionality to the device in the refresh.

The news matches earlier reports that Amazon is concocting at least two new versions of the Kindle.

Unconfirmed reports suggest the Kindle is in store for an improved user interface in the near future, as well as a new model the size of an 8.5-by-11-inch sheet of paper — better for, say, adding notes, which students are known to do.

The exact success of the Kindle varies depending who you ask — although most analysts agree the device is doing well for Amazon. The company has thus far refused to release its sales figures, prompting much speculation from various sources. Amazon management reportedly gave McAdams the impression that while Kindle is selling briskly, some recent extremely optimistic estimates such as from CitiGroup are shooting well over the mark. ®

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