$139 Kindle WiFi = Kindle for Kids?

The new Kindle WiFi comes in at the magical price of $139. The Press are focusing on the effect this will have on people who wouldn’t put up $259 for a dedicated eReader - their theory is that these people didn’t feel reading was worth $259 but will definitely feel its worth $139.

While the ‘reading isn’t worth $259′ people may or may not think reading is worth $139 there is an entire new demographic that will get access to the Kindle WiFi due to its low price – kids.

Kindle WiFi might be the Kindle for Kids

Let’s consider a few scenarios -

  1. You want to get your child to read more. We live in a world where nothing can be proved so we can never prove reading makes children smarter or it improves their grades or it’s a better use of their time than video games. Let’s assume that you think it’s a possibility and want to get your daughter/son to read more – How would you do it?
  2. You’re trying to find a good diversion for your 7-year-old daughter. You have toys and TV and DVDs and games and you can take her to the park but there’s still something missing. What would she enjoy? What would be good for her?
  3. You’re deciding on a birthday gift for your grandson. You’re thinking something around $100 and perhaps it’s an iPod and perhaps it’s something else.  
  4. You’re buying textbooks for your kid and complaining about the prices and weight. You wish the prices were cheaper and your kid didn’t have to carry all the heavy books everywhere.
  5. A school is figuring out its textbook budget. They feel they’re trapped by the textbook companies and ever-changing textbooks and they too are tired of seeing their kids carrying around 25 pounds of textbooks.

We had the Kindle but it was at $259. That’s too expensive for schools’ budgets and too expensive a present for most people. It’s also something you worry about a kid breaking.

The $139 Kindle WiFi solves a lot of that. It’s still breakable – However, $139 isn’t as big a loss and you can definitely trust older kids and more responsible kids with it. At $139 it’s not that far away from $100 and many more people will be buying it as a gift. If it gets your kid into reading it’s priceless. It’s thin and light and easy for kids to carry and use.

You could buy your kid $60 worth of books or a $110 iPod as a gift or you could get her a Kindle WiFi.

Kindle WiFi goes perfectly with Free Books

Lots and lots of what kids read or are asked to read at school fall under the classics umbrella – these are public domain books and we’re spending $20 to $50 a year (perhaps more) buying them.

Get a Kindle WiFi and you get access to 1.8 million public domain books for free. You get 20-40 free book offers a month. You really don’t have to buy your kids many books. There’s a giant heap of books already available for free.

Kindle WiFi can help eliminate the Textbook Mafia

States like California were considering Kindles when they were $259. Now, at $139, the Kindle WiFi is almost irresistable.

We have initiatives for free and cheap textbooks – However, you had to read them on laptops or PCs. Those are neither suitable for reading text nor are they cheap. At $139 the Kindle WiFi is perfect for reading textbooks.

There’ll obviously be people who’ll complain there’s no color and it isn’t as interesting as flying livers singing out their chemical constitution.

Well, do we want to entertain our kids or do we want to educate them?

Besides all the devices with color screens are far too expensive and not focused on reading.

$139 is a magical price point – Kindle WiFi is almost perfect for kids

It’s a mystery why Amazon isn’t targeting kids when there are so many good reasons to -

  1. Parents would much rather buy constructive entertainment devices than video game consoles. Plus kids can use Kindle WiFi for school.
  2. You replace expensive textbooks with cheap Kindles and cheap textbooks.  
  3. No more heavy backpacks.
  4. You inculcate a love of reading at a young age.  
  5. The education market is dying for exactly such a product. At $139 the Kindle WiFi is perfect given the financial environment and the tough budget restrictions schools now have.
  6. Lots of kids who have trouble with reading can benefit from the larger font options and the text to speech.  
  7. The Kindle WiFi can connect to the Internet using school’s WiFi networks. When the Kindle App Store opens we might get apps made specifically for kids.

The one thing Amazon has done that’s great is family sharing of Kindle books. Kids’ Kindle WiFis add on to their parents’ Kindle 3s. The entire family can share books (well, the ones that are safe for kids). You can have multiple family members reading the same book at the same time.

It’s an opportunity just waiting to be taken advantage of – the $139 Kindle WiFi is a near-perfect reading device for kids.

Cool free Kindle Pregnancy Book, Kindle for Kids Bill

There’s a very useful looking pregnancy book free in the Kindle Store -

  1. The Joy of Pregnancy: The Complete, Candid, and Reassuring Companion for Parents-To-Be by Tori Kopp. It’s rated 4.5 stars on 23 reviews.

Really liked the attitude of the author and the approach she takes -

Labor and delivery nurse Kropp was troubled when she recognized several years back that women coming into the hospital to give birth were both ill-prepared and more anxious than ever. 

Kropp found that the humor and joy of pregnancy had been lost, and set out to help remedy the situation. Her book is a refreshing mix of medical information and helpful, nonjudgmental advice, which urges readers to inform themselves but also to relax and enjoy the special time and anticipation of pregnancy.

 The user reviews also talk about this -

I’m in my first trimester with my first baby – I love this book! It makes me feel like everything I am experiencing is normal. Some of the other books out there make pregnancy seem so scary, but this book has a lighthearted, yet very informative approach. I highly recommend it!!

Kindle for Kids Bill - Proposal to subsidize eBooks and eReaders

Ars Technica has the scoop -

a new bill that would update the Federal Communications Commission’s E-Rate program, which subsidizes computer equipment and Internet connectivity for schools.

Markey’s proposed E-Rate 2.0 act (H.R. 4619) would, among other provisions, set up a pilot program allowing low-income school kids to apply for “significantly discounted services and technologies for the use of e-books.”

It would mean iPad and Kindle and other devices that allow reading eBooks are allowed to be subsidized. 

Would it be Kindles or iPads getting the nod?

It’s quite an interesting choice with the iPad’s color and video being useful for textbooks and its myriad distractions being a negative.

Whichever devices are allowed it’ll be a great boost for eReaders – Hopefully the National Federation for the Blind doesn’t stick its nose in here.

Kindle, Children, Reading – Nintendo crashes the party

Have talked in the past about the potential of Kindle for kids, especially in terms of helping them read more and develop a love for reading.

However, Amazon haven’t really done anything to promote the Kindle for children - instead choosing to focus on Kindle DX and college students. 

Well, Amazon might have to move soon or risk losing the market for a children’s kindle to Nintendo.

Nintendo brings ebooks for kids to the Nintendo DS

Nintendo is jumping into the children’s ebooks market with something called Flips that work with the Nintendo DS. 

Telegraph UK has the scoop -

  • Flips can be read by ‘flipping’ through pages.  
  • There are sound effects and kids can spot feathers and flowers hidden in the pages to unlock games.
  • A Flip is a collection of 6 to 8 books.
  • Each Flip costs 25 pounds.
  • Video Game company Electronics Arts is developing these.
  • Enid Blyton’s Magic Faraway Tree, Eoin Colfer’s Artemis Fowl, Cathy Cassidy, and Too Ghoul for School are the first Flips.
  • Release Date is Friday, Dec 4th.

Here’s a video –

Flips do seem like a fantastic idea. The video continues the trend of eReader and eBook videos where we get to see a lot of the whole wide world and not enough of the device itself.

There’s another video where the concept of sharing between Nintendo DSes is explored – kids can ping a chapter of their flip to a friend.

Which brings up a related question -

Is the future of book sharing chapter sharing?

The concept of beaming over a chapter of a book you’re reading to a friend is a good one.

Let’s be honest here - None of the two extremes work i.e.

  1. You can’t have absolutely free sharing and also lower prices. 
  2. You can’t have zero sharing as it hurts both sharing and the spread of books.

There are two compromises -

  1. Allow sharing of the first few chapters of a book from eReader to eReader.
  2. Allow one-time lending like the Nook has.

The latter will obviously be more popular. However, the former also manages to capture the sharing and recommendation aspects of physical book sharing.

eReaders in general will have to do something to counter the Nook’s LendMe feature and it’ll be interesting to see what sharing related features they introduce.

Coming back to the topic of kids and reading – Nintendo aren’t the only company recognizing that eReaders and eBooks for children are going to be big.

Scroll Motion adds interactive kids’ ebooks for iPhone

BNet and Publishers Weekly report on Scroll Motion’s Iceberg Reader Kids format -

“This is a fully interactive way of engaging a book filled with activities like image exploration, DIY audio book recording, and a whole new set of interactive controls for moving through a book that are built with fun in mind,”

Lots of interesting details -

  1. Iceberg Reader Kids format has enhancements like animations, audio content, and interactive tools.
  2. There’s an audio recording feature that lets Parents record themselves reading out a book.
  3. Competitors are supposedly working on similar ‘recordable audio’ features. 
  4. Some books will feature songs and music.
  5. 30 titles will be released.
  6. Bookmark feature.
  7. Panning and zooming into illustrations.
  8. One of the titles is Curious George.
  9. Price between $4 and $15.
  10. Plans to move beyond iPhone in the future.

As BNet point out – this is yet another example of the evolution of books and how books are finally incorporating technology and catching up. 

When will Amazon create a Kindle for Children?

Amazon has been ignoring the Kindle for Kids market – However, these initiatives by Nintendo and Scroll Motion show others are moving in on the opportunity. 

There are a few key reasons Amazon need to make a move soon -

  1. If children adopt an eReader in droves it will be hard to beat.  
  2. Life time customers – potentially. 
  3. Parents will be more than willing to buy eReaders for their children.  
  4. If it’s something that can be used for books and textbooks it increases the chances of success much more.  

Amazon have perhaps 6-12 months to release a Kindle for children. After that, it’ll probably be too late.

Kindle helping kids read more

Here’s a great story from the Kindle Forums on how the Kindle (or for that matter any good electronic reader) can really help kids with reading -

                   I have to just shout I am so excited and wanted to share. I am the mother of 2 teenage girls…14 and 13. The 13 year old has always loved to read but my 14 year old hated reading. She has never picked up a book to actually read for pleasure…Not even Twilight…

                 This has always bothered me, she struggles so much in school because she really has a hard time reading. We have tried many things and several approaches but they never seemed to help. W ehave even been to the eye doctor! Anyway, today she picks up the Kindle 2 and starts to read. I started explaining things to her and she was having a hard time so I increased the font size.

                          She really liked that and asked for the book Marked by P.C. & Kristen Cast so I downloaded it. She hasn’t put the Kindle down since! After hours of reading I asked what the difference was between the regular book and the kindle, she said she would get very overwhelmed by all the words and the size of the book which would make it difficult for her to stay focused.

                          For whatever reason putting the font size up one notch has done the trick! I know it seems trivial but it is a HUGE victory for us…..for her. She is actually excited about reading and is already picking out another series to read! I guess we will have to be getting another kindle!

Why isn’t Amazon pushing this more?

  1. School children read a lot, they read for 12 years of their life, and they don’t really have a choice i.e. they must read for school.  
  2. The earlier you get kids reading the better for their education.  
  3. The more kids read the bigger their advantage in school, and in effect for the rest of their lives.
  4. There are numerous examples like the one above – people talking about how the Kindle got their kid into reading.

There’s some very good discussion about KIPP in the Outliers book by Malcolm Gladwell – it discusses the importance of out of school reading to maintain learning in school.

Also, a good blog to check out that focuses specifically on using the kindle with kids.

Finally, a list of Kindle books for kids. In the links on the right column there are more lists specifically about kindle books for kids.

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