The State Department will spend $16.5 million on 2,500 Kindle e-book readers from Amazon, which amounts to a whopping $6,600 per Kindle device that retails for $189.
Nextgov.com first reported this news by looking at procurement databases and discovered the State Department awarded a no-bid contract to purchase the kindle devices at a 3,500 percent markup.
According to NextGov, “Kindles were seen as the only appropriate devices for this contract, which was not opened for competitive bidding” and the State Department will use the Kindles to “aid those seeking to study English and learn about America.”
Other devices, such as Barnes and Noble’s Nook, Sony’s Reader Daily and Kobe e-Reader and Apple’s iPad “were unsuitable” due to various reasons such as low-quality “text-to-speech” functions, battery life, and Wi-Fi connectivity, according to the government document Nextgov.com examined.
The State Department, after much outrage, immediately issued a hazy statement that said the $16.5 million figure was the upper limit of what it could spend over the course of the contract.
But the Kindle contract represents why the bloated and unaccountable federal government is in such debt. Under the contract, the State Department could buy 2,500 Kindles, which would cost $472,500 on Amazon.com, for a whopping $16.5 million. Even in light of the State Department's semi-coherent clarification on the matter, one has to wonder how $16.5 million can be budgeted for Kindles, even if the Kindles are purchased at the retail price.