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8/29/2008
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Kindle Upgrade Unlikely Before Next Year

A version of Amazon's e-reader aimed at students would need to incorporate technology that lets them highlight key text passages.

Amazon's next version of Kindle, its e-reading device that wirelessly downloads text from the Internet, will not come out before next year, according to news reports.

Amazon responded to earlier media reports that said the company is working on an upgrade to target students. Amazon representatives told The New York Times that the next generation device isn't scheduled for release anytime soon.

The company declined to comment on whether it plans to target college students, as analysts claimed earlier this week.

McAdams Wright Ragen analyst Tim Bueneman said earlier this week that he had met with executives at Amazon and the company is eyeing college students while working on an updated version of Kindle.

The Kindle launched last November. It costs $359, which isn't much compared to the hundreds of dollars that college students spend on textbooks each year. Although they would still have to buy eBooks, digital text usually sells for substantially less than the heavier, hard copy books that students lug around in their backpacks.

However, the current version of Kindle does not allow users to enter notes alongside key passages. The technology is available and would likely be included in any upgrades targeting the $5.5 billion textbook market.

Amazon has clearly pushed to expand its position in online book sales. The company announced earlier this week that it purchased Shelfari, a social networking site for book-lovers. Users create virtual bookshelves with collections of books they have read. The site allows members to rate, review, discuss, and recommend books.

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