Pulling Free Content Into Kindle

If you use a Kindle or a Kindle application, you might like this news: the Internet Archive / Open Library and Amazon have partnered to pull OL content into your Kindle device with a few clicks.

Open Library, a project of the Internet Archive (which offers other great resources like the Way Back Machine) seeks to add a page for every book written (whew!). They are currently at 20 million records and climbing.

Simply search the OL and, if the section labeled “read” in your search result contains a button marked “send to Kindle”, you can get the book. Click and you will be redirected to Amazon. Log in, select the device you wish to send to and click again on the “continue” button. Voila – your OL e-book is now in your device.

Not all titles in the OL can be sent. If a particular item is a poor OCR (optical character recognition) candidate – i.e., not easily scanned, it won’t be offered in EPUB or Kindle format. But, for those that are, what a nice, quick, FREE way to add some reading material to your e-bookshelf!

Hat tip to ResourceShelf.

Government Docs on Kindle, For Free

Novel marriage of tech and exec – Amazon announced a few days ago (link here) that it would be adding the Fiscal Year 2011 Budget of the United States and the President’s Economic Report to Kindle as free, downloadable content. So, in under 60 seconds, you could be slogging your way through the “weighty” language written in e-ink.

All quips aside, this is precisely the type of e-reader use that gets me excited about the technology. While I don’t see myself giving up paper and ink for casual, fun reading, I am totally into the idea of shedding pages of documents, drafts, case books and reference guides for a slim 8″ by 10″ by 1/4″ tablet. Some readers already allow you to load PDFs and other types of docs for viewing. I an looking forward to the day that all of my professional reading can be done on an e-reader, although probably not a Kindle. I have my eyes on the upcoming tablets and more generalized content consumption devices.

For now, the government documents can be read and synced between the Kindle, Kindle DX, iPhones and  iPod touches running the Kindle app, PCs and soon, Mac computers and BlackBerry smartphones.

Hat tip to beSpacific.

The Kindle Alternative

I have been waiting for the Plastic Logic and Irex eReaders to become widely available – I like their look and design much better than the Kindle.

The good news has been rolling in over the last couple of weeks: Irex and Plastic Logic and Barnes & Noble have teamed up to face the Kindle head-on in the eReader wars. The Irex / B & N offering appears focused as a direct competitor.  The Irex reader has a 8.1 inch touchscreen, a stylus and a 3G wireless connection. The identity of the wireless carrier has not yet been disclosed.

The Irex will take advantage of B & N’s larger selection of eBooks. Nice to have choices.

Hat Tip to ReadWriteWeb.

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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