The U.S. State Department, which was considering a $16.5-million no-bid contract with Amazon to provide Kindles, content and services for overseas language programs, has officially withdrawn its proposal, saying it “intends to conduct additional market research and reexamine its requirements for this program.”
Gary Price at Library Journal’s Infodocket blog first discovered the notice about the withdrawal of the contract, which was posted to the State Department’s website August 15 at 4:00 p.m. ET.
The contract that the State Department was considering in June would have provided 2,500 Kindle Touches in the first year, preloaded with 50 titles apiece, at a guaranteed $2.29 million, with the option to renew the contract for four more years. The upper limit on the five-year contract was 7,000 Kindles per year. State spokesman Philippe Reines suggested to me at the time that many of the books would be in the public domain (i.e., free) and that other services would include preloading content and shipping devices. If the contract had gone through and was renewed for a total of five years, and if State had purchased a total of 35,000 Kindle Touch 3Gs each priced at $170.10 (a 10 percent discount) during that time and each with a case and adapter valued at $20, that would have left $9,846,500 for content, shipping and “associate costs.”
It appeared that the deal would go through, as Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos and Secretary of State Hillary Clinton announced in June that they would hold a joint press conference to announce the Kindle Mobile Learning Initiative. Then the State Department announced that the press conference was postponed to an unspecified later date. It never took place.
I’ve asked the State Department and Amazon for comment and will update the post if I hear back.