What Amazon can do to improve Kindles for schools

Kindle Box - for some reason we don't have an alt tag here

So I know I’ve been talking about Kindles a lot this week, but that’s because I have spent a lot of time with them in my hands. I finally finished rolling out the 54 Kindles for our classrooms earlier today, and have found some areas that Amazon could improve if it wants to become more attractive to schools or large corporations in general.

One of the things that Amazon does well with the Kindles is the allowing the owner to register them online. The onscreen keyboard is very annoying to use as you have to move the cursor to one spot at a time. When I first experienced that, I was dreading having to register them all because the email address we use is 30 characters long. I was overjoyed to find that I could register them online and I only needed the serial number to do so. This made it very easy to register, but this could still be improved.

The way you register a new Kindle to your account is by clicking the Register a Device link on the Amazon website. A popup opens and you enter in the serial number and hit accept. Amazon then adds the Kindle to your account and gives it a generic name. After the Devices page finishes reloading you can then rename the device, and wait for the page to reload again so you can add the next device. If Amazon made a bulk device adding page with the ability to enter multiple serials and edit the name on the same page it would save a lot of time.

I mentioned yesterday how great it is that most Kindle books come with six licenses. The problem is that you have to push each book individually to each Kindle. That means for the 54 Kindles we have with 10 books on each Kindle I had to go through the process of pushing a book over 500 times. If there was a way to create Kindle groups with six Kindles in a group and then push books to a whole group – or push multiple books at one time to a single Kindle – it would have saved me a lot of time. It would be just 50 clicks instead of 500.

Another great thing that Amazon does is show you the pending transfers to your devices. The Kindle has to be turned on and connected to WiFi in order to receive new books. This means that you can queue up all the books for your devices and then turn them on and push all the books at the same time. The problem is that there are some things that Amazon pushes to the Kindles on its own. There are a couple of welcome articles that get pushed and then I found out that some error messages will get pushed to the Kindles.

I was using a school credit card and I hit a snag about halfway through the purchasing when the card was declined for some reason. I tried it again a couple times, then just used a different card. However, this turned out to not be the issue. The issue was that Amazon decided it needed to send an article to every Kindle four times stating that there was a problem with my credit card. That means that I had over 200 articles to clear off the Kindles now. I noticed they were in the pending transfer section, but there is no way to cancel the transfer. It would have been very helpful if you could cancel pending transfers, but also if those kinds of messages were sent to the main email on the account, not to every single device on the account.

The whole process of adding multiple devices to a single account wasn’t completely terrible. However, a few small changes could easily simplify the whole process. Maybe when I have some time I will submit these ideas to Amazon and see what happens.

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Bryan Faulkner

Bryan Faulkner is a former associate editor at Pocketables. He loves to find new ways to use his tablets while working as the Tech Director at his local church. Mixing sound from the iPad is his newest obsession. He currently has a pair of HP TouchPads, an iPad 2, a decommissioned HTC EVO 4G, and a Samsung Galaxy Note II to tinker with.

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