Read Kindle books without a Kindle

ebookI was really excited to read David Pogue’s article today on Amazon’s new Kindle for iPhone application that allows you to download e-books from Amazon onto your iPhone or iPod Touch. That’s right – no need to buy a Kindle to access Amazon’s ever-increasing book selection. I was quoted today in the Des Moines Register as saying that in many ways the iPhone represents the future of mobile computing. Sure, there’s still a place for the larger screens and keyboards of laptops and netbooks, but it’s awfully handy to have a device in your pocket that does so much.

I’m off to the Apple app store! Wouldn’t it be really great if Amazon made its source code public so that others could improve upon its free app (and thus result in Amazon selling more books)?

At $10 a book (or maybe a little more for textbooks), I think this opens up a lot of possiblities for K-12 classrooms. What do you think?

Photo credit: And a good book

10 Responses to “Read Kindle books without a Kindle”

  1. Hey Scott,

    What I’m waiting for is the digital textbook—and I don’t care what the reading device is (Kindle, iPhone, PDA)—-that updates itself automatically every time that a student turns it on.

    I’m teaching Eastern Europe right now with textbooks that are 5 years old. That’s darn near impossible, considering that Montenegro and Kosovo have both formed their own nations, the Ukraine has overthrown their own government, and half of the other countries have entered the EU.

    Heaven knows that if I didn’t think parents and librarians would have a complete coronary, I’d be using Wikipedia as my text right now! It’s about a thousand times more accurate than the tool that we’re working on.

    How cool would it be if publishers hired writers to make instant additions to texts based on current happenings—especially in ever-changing subjects—-and those additions automatically appeared each time a device was turned on?

    All of this work would happen behind the scenes and be unnoticeable to students—but for teachers, having new information between “textbook adoption cycles” would be awesome.

    Does any of this make sense or am I just rambling here?

    Bill

    PS: the only other barrier to my dream is that cell phones and other electronic devices are still banned in our school!

  2. Hi Bill,

    I concur. It’s clear that e-textbooks are the wave of the not-too-distant future. As such, they should be instantly updateable rather than fixed in stone at a certain period of time. Let’s take advantage of the medium…

    And why can’t you use Wikipedia or any other online resource instead of your textbooks if they’re more accurate and up-to-date? You’re not supposed to turn your brain off as a teacher just because they hand you a textbook and curriculum! 😉 [and I know you don’t!]

    Sorry to hear about your school ban. Score one for the stupid quo…

  3. I think it is really interesting to watch iPods, Netbooks, Kindles, etc… develop. They all do certain things really well. I think the one that finds a way to do it all – delivery, creativity, and productivity – will find schools really interested in making an investment. I still feel like they all do 2 out of 3.

  4. Scott asked:
    And why can’t you use Wikipedia or any other online resource instead of your textbooks if they’re more accurate and up-to-date?

    You know, this is really something that I’m embarrassed about, Scott: I’ve become much less assertive about doing what’s right in the past few years.

    Frightening, huh? That was hard to admit.

    I think it comes from the exhaustion that I feel from constantly trying to change minds and “get people up to speed.” I win a few battles here and there, but the victories are miniscule compared to the effort it takes to earn them.

    In this particular example, the “Wikipedia is the devil” message has been hammered into the minds of a lot of people—parents, principals, old-school card-catalog-loving, Brittanica weilding media specialists—-so every time that teachers use it as a resource, the questions fly.

    Now, I can defend my reasoning right well in most situations/conversations, but playing defense all the time just plain gets old.

    What’s most discouraging is that I always feel like I’m the least respected person in every conversation ony because everyone thinks they know exactly what it is that I do. It’s that transparency thing again—We don’t often respect something that we believe we understand.

    Does this make any sense?

    I know I drifted far from the iPhone Kindle app, but this one’s been burbling in the back of the ol’ brain for awhile.

    I wonder how many other practicing teachers feel the same way.

    Whew….
    Bill

  5. I bought a Kindle and use it constantly (my wife runs our remote and I am not really fond of the Hallmark Channel) It has already paid for itself in the money I have saved on books. I bought my son an ipod touch and guarantee you that my next cellphone contract will be with ATT and an iphone. By that time, I will have passed along my Kindle and be ready to access the same deals with the iphone.

  6. “Now, I can defend my reasoning right well in most situations/conversations, but playing defense all the time just plain gets old.

    What’s most discouraging is that I always feel like I’m the least respected person in every conversation only because everyone thinks they know exactly what it is that I do. It’s that transparency thing again—We don’t often respect something that we believe we understand.

    Does this make any sense?”

    Yes, Bill, it does. It is not my goal to be the most brilliant person in the conversation, or in the school. As a matter of fact, I think some people are intimidated simply by the fact that I keep trying new things. Most of the time they work, sometimes they fail.

    And to be honest, every single time a kids spaces off in class, I wonder if I just ‘don’t get it, somehow.’ Then I think of personal responsibility and I come full circle…maybe the student just doesn’t get it. In any case, on a bad day in the classroom, on a bad day in an in-service, on an ordinary day in the world, it is easier to be be ordinary than it is to be Superman. But the glasses won’t work forever, the hiatus will be over, and it is back to thinking about what is best for the kids. Hang in there.

  7. I have the app and love it so far. We are considering writing a grant to get Touches and e-books for students. Been playing with the idea of e-books for a couple of months like this format.

  8. Is it readable on other devices – like, say, a computer – if one doesn’t have an iPod/iPod Touch either? That’s what I’m waiting for – something device-independent

  9. @Kathryn

    That’s what I’m waiting for as well. Why should I have to have a Kindle to read books on my computer? (I wonder if that may even be an antitrust violation.)

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