On May 6, 2009 Amazon will unveil plans for a new version of its Kindle e-book reader. As reported in the Wall Street Journal, the new improved Kindle will sport a larger screen and other features designed to appeal to academic textbook publishers as the Kindle begins to target the college textbook market, a $5.5 Billion market in the U.S. alone.
Case Western Reserve University in Cleveland will be one of the first universities to have textbooks for chemistry, computer science and a freshman seminar already installed on the Kindle. Case Western then plans to compare student reactions to reading textbooks on Kindle with a control group who will use traditional textbooks. Five other universities—Pace, Princeton, Reed, the Darden School at the University of Virginia, and Arizona State University—are also involved in this pilot.
The world of higher education is being changed right before our eyes. And the reaction to the Kindle is impessive. While Amazon does not officially divulge sales number for Kindle (many suspect because of a desire to avoid direct comparisons to Apple’s iPod ) Michael Arrington of TechCrunch suspects that Amazon will sell at least 800,000 of the devices in 2009 alone, which would put sales for Kindle ahead of the iPod’s numbers when each device was in its second generation. What’s more, since Amazon owns the audio book company Audible, Kindle owners may be able to read a few chapters at home and then when they are in their car pick up where they left off, only this time via an audio version of the book. While you may not want to do this for your chemistry book, it can be a big plus for a best seller.
So, what can we expect in terms of penetration of the Kindle for the corporate training market? Imagine being able to access performance support, real time feedback on the job, updates to training programs a plethora of corporate documents from a Kindle at work?
Share your thoughts on opportunities and barriers to using Kindle as delivery device for corporate learning & development.