We have been investigating Kindles for the last few weeks in order to have some available in the LRC for staff and students. We are always keen to increase the range of technologies that we have on offer to the students and the Kindles are definitely appealing. The issues that we wanted to look at were firstly how we were going to put the content on to the Kindles and what sort of content we should use. Secondly some security issues including the devices not being returned or just taken, or more importantly ensuring that borrowers could not buy content using our account.
As far as the content is concerned, initially we have decided to use lots of free books including classics and fiction. We will allocate the Kindles to specific areas i.e. Sports or Health & Care or Computing & media and buy some specific books that are on reading lists or relevant to the course. Also documents and PDFs and research other e-book titles that are compatible. Once they are set up I expect we will get lots of requests for content.
The security issue of being taken or not returned we are not going to worry too much about, we'll probably limit them to use in the LRC, then in the College and see how that goes. We have some security tape / tattle tape strips that I got for the net books so might use those which would set off the book security alarm but I've no idea whether it would affect the device if desensitised. I think it would be better not to desensitise them to be on the safe side.
The issue of buying content on our account is the one that I have deliberated over the most. This is because once the device is registered and set up then it doesn't ask you for a password to buy from the Kindle store. We looked at the option of using a gift voucher for purchases as this would limit it and I'd been told that this was an option but couldn't get it resolved satisfactorily. Therefore we looked at the option of registering the Kindle, buying content on an Amazon account, then de-registering the device. I thought that once de-registered, the Kindle would lose the content but it doesn't. This solution seems to work.
The only real problem has been the WiFi access in College - the Kindle finds the WiFi network and even connects to it in places but when you try to access the store, it fails. Presumably this is due to the proxy settings - there are no short term fixes.
Therefore what we have done is buy four Kindles, register them all to one Amazon Kindle account on the PC, take them home and register using home WiFi, back to college and download content, some free and some paid for, the same content can go many devices (don't know exact number - I think it varies) via the PC and lead, then back home and de-register the devices using WiFi. The Kindles are now ready to use with content and without the option to buy unless re-registered. It is possible that users could de-register and register to their own account but I don't think it's likely or an issue.
Next week LRC staff are testing them then after half term they will be ready to go out on loan. Hurrah!