The Kindle and Technical Communication

This story caught my eye today:

Amazon’s Kindle hit an important and startling milestone yesterday: On Christmas, the company sold more Kindle books than physical books.

via Kindle Milestone: Amazon Sold More Kindle Books Than Physical Books On Xmas.

If the Kindle and other e-readers are becoming so popular isn’t it just a matter of time until documentation  will  be available as a download to e-readers?

What are the implications for technical communication? It shouldn’t be that much different than producing a document for download  as a .pdf, as the Kindle can read .pdfs. I see it being especially useful for service manuals. A company could equip its technicians with an e-reader containing the necessary manuals already inside, much as some companies do now with laptops.  I’d be interested in hearing from anyone who has heard of this being done yet.

Personally as a substitute for books I am against e-readers. First of all I think reading is a tactile experience that includes smell and touch. Secondly, it would destroy the market for used books. Not everyone can afford new books. I buy my books from http://www.betterworldbooks.com which offers low cost used books and $3.98 overseas shipping.

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3 thoughts on “The Kindle and Technical Communication

  1. It’s still good for people who physically are unable to turn pages in a book. Especially when they used to read and loved it.

  2. My Kindle 2 now has the new firmware which allows it to read .pdf files directly. I tried a sample .pdf and find that the screen is really too small to make this device practical for a normally formatted (8″x10″) page. The larger Kindle is probably much better, but I find it difficult to believe this will be a practical solution until the hardware gets better. In my experience .pdf doc for manuals work fine on a normal computer screen.

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