Amazon is aggressively defending its position in the e-reader market by unveiling a redesigned Kindle 2 for a mere $139. As Amazon and Barnes and Noble battle for e-reader supremacy, it's time for businesses to take a closer look at the benefits and advantages of embracing e-readers like the Kindle 2.
The Kindle 2 is smaller and lighter than the original Kindle, making it even more portable. Amazon managed to squeeze more into the smaller form factor as well--making the Kindle 2 faster, and expanding the memory to 4Gb so the new Kindle can now hold an estimated 3,500 books. And, somehow Amazon also managed to extend battery life--enabling the Kindle 2 to hold a charge for up to a month with the wireless radio off.
The Kindle 2 has an opportunity to deliver valuable tools and resources for mobile workers, or for professions that don't lend themselves to sitting in front of the computer or taking time to visit the library in order to get information. There are many lines of work that rely heavily on printed documentation, or could if it was available.
For example, books like Gray's Anatomy, or Dosage Calculation Practices for Nurses could be readily available in the palm of the hand. Medical professionals could carry entire libraries of information, and be able to search books based on keywords to find relevant entries in a matter of seconds. Real estate agents, insurance adjustors, and many other professions could similarly benefit from having common reference materials available on a Kindle 2 or other e-reader.
An additional benefit of switching from traditional printed reference materials to Kindle, or other electronic format versions is ubiquitous availability. Aside from the Kindle itself, Amazon provides a Kindle app for PC or Mac, as well as for Apple iPad tablet, and the iPhone, Android, and BlackBerry smartphone platforms.
Amazon syncs the library, bookmarks, notes, and other data between the various platforms. That means that even if a user did not have the Kindle 2 handy, or if the Kindle 2 broke or the battery died, all of the same information would still be accessible from a diverse array of other devices which are also readily available in most situations.
E-readers like the Kindle 2 make sense for businesses on a number of levels, and now that the price has dropped to $139, and will likely drop further due to competitive price wars, they are becoming even more cost-effective. It's time for businesses to consider the library of printed material they rely on, and the operational and financial benefits of moving from print to digital format and embracing the e-reader.