Electronic Books on Handheld Devices @VanceS @timholt2007

Image Source: http://www.lexcycle.com/sites/default/files/images/Lexcycle/splash_files/droppedImage_4.png

Today, someone asked me, "I want to use a Kindle e:Reader for my school but I'm told it might violate CIPA. Is this true?"

Image Source: http://www.ereader-zone.com/wp-content/uploads/2009/03/kindle_vs_iphone.jpg

My emailed response ended up like this but I'm not sure I was absolutely on target. Any suggestions for improving my response? Thanks in advance to a tweet from VanceS:

Here's the email I sent:

This is a follow-up email to the phone conversation I had with one of your team earlier today in regards to a recent request to purchase Kindle eReader devices for use in your District. Some objections arise when considering the Kindle or Nook.

The Kindle--because it has its own built-in way (3G Internet) of accessing the Internet--is prohibited from use in K-12 settings as a result of the Children's Internet Protection Act (CIPA). The main objection is the independent Internet connection. If the Kindle eReader sold as a Wireless (WiFi) device, there would be no issue since it would depend on the District's filtered wireless Internet connection.
The Kindle is a single user device and as such, it requires entry of a credit card. Purchases of books must be done through a credit card purchase via the Kindle. Managing these purchases via the Kindle would involve some logistical issues. Other districts in Texas that have pursued this have encountered this problem because the user's credit card is wide open for purchasing content--inappropriate or not--through Amazon.com.
Some alternatives that came to mind, although your District may not support them yet, during brainstorming included the following, although they may be a little more expensive:
1. Purchase a netbook and then take advantage of
free audio and text-based books available (large list online). You can
get text-based books online at Baen Books (http://www.baen.com/library/). 

Here is a short list of audio books:
  1. Librivox.org, the main source for audio books
  2. Gutenberg: The Audio Books
  3. OpenCulture
  4. LearnOutLoud
  5. Audiobooks.org
  6. StoryNory
  7. Books Should Be Free
  8. PodioBooks
3. iPad (WiFi version) - This is the new Apple iPad that allows you
to access a variety of resources.
4. Dell Mini 5 or Streak - More about it online at http://www.engadget.com/2010/02/11/dell-mini-5-we-have-it/
Since it runs the Android Operating System, it has access to rich variety of audio and text-based books available for free. 
5. iPod Touch device - Allows you to access free books on it, although the screen is smaller than the the previous items above. Use the free Stanza to get over 10,000 books you can read on the device.
As we become aware of more options, I will be sure to share those with
you now that I know you are seeking them.

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Rusty Meyners said…
Wife wanted a Kindle for Christmas but after researching online, decided I wanted to get her something "open", rather than "walled" into Amazon, so ended up with a Bookeen Opus. The Opus, like the Sony can read both DRM-protected and open files but the Opus does not have any wireless and depends on USB transfers from PC (or laptop/netbook). If the file is DRM'd, Adobe Digital Editions is required for file to an Opus. Reading in bed last night, my wife chose the light & compact Opus, though a "hard copy" of the same title was at hand.

At my last check, it seemed the wall at Amazon and B&N was getting ready to come down with firmware updates that would allow standard ebook (still DRM'd) format from other sellers. If you need wi-fi, rather than 3G, I would check the Barns & Noble Nook device very closely.

I've been using Adobe Digital Editions for a few months to read both open and DRM (usually purchased from http://KOBObooks.com ) ebooks on my netbook but after getting a Blackberry and trying Mobipocket on it, have been preferring that on netbook as well. As I recall the Opus firmware can be changed for use with the Mobipocket format. Mobipocket software includes a feature to convert standard ebook format to MOBI; I believe can handle DRM and their website also features book sales.

My favorite site for downloading free public domain books is http://feedbooks.com where I was able to quickly obtain around a hundred which only scratched the surface.

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