Kindle Threatens to Become Lawyer's Swiss Army Knife

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It’s coming, I know it. I called it a year ago. Who wouldn’t rather have their entire library with automatic updates on a roughly 8 by 5 by 1/2″ tablet? The Wall Street Journal ran this article on Friday by Jeffrey Trachtenberg announcing that Practicing Law Institute (“PLI”) is making its law books available on the Kindle. The discounts off hard copy are not as steep for the PLI’s offerings as for other Amazon titles, but they should measure around 20%. The article quotes a VP from a market research firm on why law-on-Kindle makes sense:

“[t]here are a lot of practical reasons to believe that the digital market may well be more profitable for publishers of legal, medical and educational texts,” said Andrew Frank, a vice president at market-research firm Gartner Inc. “Since these texts are reference material, the ability to index them and set up bookmarks, which you can do easily with the Kindle, will save time and money for users.”

With all due respect, Mr. Frank, no duh! The article goes on to explain why the marriage makes sense: easy updates;  the ability to delete old information; portability; search; and, quick links to footnotes

Well over half of PLI’s 90-book catalog are now available. If all goes well, other legal publishers will follow suit and soon you will have a library in your hands that rivals the one at your law school.

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Kindle Threatens to Become Lawyer’s Swiss Army Knife

Image representing Amazon Kindle as depicted i...
Image via CrunchBase

It’s coming, I know it. I called it a year ago. Who wouldn’t rather have their entire library with automatic updates on a roughly 8 by 5 by 1/2″ tablet? The Wall Street Journal ran this article on Friday by Jeffrey Trachtenberg announcing that Practicing Law Institute (“PLI”) is making its law books available on the Kindle. The discounts off hard copy are not as steep for the PLI’s offerings as for other Amazon titles, but they should measure around 20%. The article quotes a VP from a market research firm on why law-on-Kindle makes sense:

“[t]here are a lot of practical reasons to believe that the digital market may well be more profitable for publishers of legal, medical and educational texts,” said Andrew Frank, a vice president at market-research firm Gartner Inc. “Since these texts are reference material, the ability to index them and set up bookmarks, which you can do easily with the Kindle, will save time and money for users.”

With all due respect, Mr. Frank, no duh! The article goes on to explain why the marriage makes sense: easy updates;  the ability to delete old information; portability; search; and, quick links to footnotes

Well over half of PLI’s 90-book catalog are now available. If all goes well, other legal publishers will follow suit and soon you will have a library in your hands that rivals the one at your law school.

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Save A Briefcase, Use A Kindle

I have long suspected that e-readers in general and the Amazon Kindle in particular could serve a higher purpose for lawyers. There is no doubt that we, as a profession, drown in paper. While we are in much better shape in this regard now than we were, say, 10 – 15 years ago, there is still a lot of paper wending its way through the practice. And, of course, lawyers by definition are avid readers, by both choice and necessity.

Many thanks to Justin Rebello at the Wisconsin Law Journal for his short list, of lawyer-specific reasons to grab a Kindle. Quoting from Justin:

  • Read depositions. The most common use for attorneys is exploring read-only versions of deposition transcripts.

    The Kindle allows the user to make notes on the screen or on the Web via an online content manager.

    There are also applications — such as Accureader — that can transfer a Kindle file (a .ptx file) into a PDF for text conversions, and have it e-mailed to a laptop.

    “It’s an easy way to keep track of the case no matter where you are,” said Finis Price, a personal injury lawyer in Louisville, Ky. “A laptop or other reader is too clunky for [converting files].”

  • Take private records home with you. The days of an attorney piling ultra-sensitive case documents into a brief case are over.

    The Kindle allows the user to upload documents onto the device using Amazon’s Digital Text Platform self-publishing tool.

  • Find new ways to release your own book. Speaking of self-publishing, the Kindle gives attorneys looking to release their own book more options.

    You can use the Digital Text Platform to upload, format and sell your book at the Kindle Store. Hundreds of law-related books are already available.

  • Keep up on blogs. If your Google Reader is constantly showing 1,000+ unread items, the Kindle can download a number of blogs so you can stay up to date while on the go, all without a web browser, says Price. [Yep, the Studio can even be loaded onto your device, via Amazon!]
  • Save on printing costs. The Kindle certainly isn’t cheap ($359 for the current iteration, $489 for the DX), but it can actually save law firms money in the long run.

    Firm policies and manuals can be uploaded in a read-only format. Web versions of magazines and newspapers can also be converted.

As more lawyers adopt this facile method for dealing with the mountains of paperwork (and email) that pervade their lives, briefcases and backs are certain to breathe a sigh of relief.

Hat tip to Legal Writing Prof Blog.

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Advocate’s Studio – Live & Kicking On Your Kindle

Advocate's Studio MastheadThe Advocate is very pleased to announce that you lucky Kindle owners can now get your favorite law, research, writing and technology blog on your Kindle for easy reading on the go.  As of yesterday, Amazon opened up its Kindle blog catalog to publishers large and small. Follow the link to Ben Parr’s Mashable article for more information. Signing up to install the blog on their directory was simple: all it required of me was to set up an account with a tax id number and make some simple formating choices. Amazon does the rest and has told me that the Studio will be available within 42 – 78 hours for download to your Kindle.

Convenience does come with a small price tag. I am not sure what the Studio will cost to purchase from Amazon, but I figure it cannot be too much since the big name blogs will be going for between .99 cents and $1.99. Personally, my preference would be to make Advocate’s Studio on the Kindle available for my favorite number: free. Unfortunately that is up to Amazon and not me. As with iPhone apps, however, I am never bothered by a small fee for the convenience these portable tools offer and hopefully, Kindle owners won’t balk at the price either.

I also signed up my art blog, Star Toe Studio, so that both sides of my brain will be available for viewing by Kindle users far and wide.

I don’t have the URL’s at which the blogs will be made available yet, but I will update this post when they are live.

Happy reading!

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Advocate's Studio – Live & Kicking On Your Kindle

Advocate's Studio MastheadThe Advocate is very pleased to announce that you lucky Kindle owners can now get your favorite law, research, writing and technology blog on your Kindle for easy reading on the go.  As of yesterday, Amazon opened up its Kindle blog catalog to publishers large and small. Follow the link to Ben Parr’s Mashable article for more information. Signing up to install the blog on their directory was simple: all it required of me was to set up an account with a tax id number and make some simple formating choices. Amazon does the rest and has told me that the Studio will be available within 42 – 78 hours for download to your Kindle.

Convenience does come with a small price tag. I am not sure what the Studio will cost to purchase from Amazon, but I figure it cannot be too much since the big name blogs will be going for between .99 cents and $1.99. Personally, my preference would be to make Advocate’s Studio on the Kindle available for my favorite number: free. Unfortunately that is up to Amazon and not me. As with iPhone apps, however, I am never bothered by a small fee for the convenience these portable tools offer and hopefully, Kindle owners won’t balk at the price either.

I also signed up my art blog, Star Toe Studio, so that both sides of my brain will be available for viewing by Kindle users far and wide.

I don’t have the URL’s at which the blogs will be made available yet, but I will update this post when they are live.

Happy reading!

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