A Theory on eBook Readers

Friday, December 18, 2009 16:25
A Theory on eBook Readers

I have been writing about e-readers for about a year now. In recent months I have also had discussions with financial services executives about the digital devices and some real world scenarios.

As some background - the e-reader is a digital device that is handheld and can carry a large number of full length books and other publications in memory. I have been using an Amazon Kindle and have also had a chance to see and feel the Sony e-reader. The Kindle is very versatile and has enabled me to carry around 7 to 10 books I have on my reading list. I have used it on the road during travel as well as at bedtime with the night reading lamp on. In one of life's ironies - I also am a collector of antique books of a certain genre and time period. However - the Kindle works for me for the types of books I want to read but do not believe will be collectible.


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Currently Amazon, Sony and most recently Barnes and Noble have the most important devices out on the market. Those would be the Kindle, Reader and Nook, respectively. Word on the street is the newest Sony device (touch screen "Reader Edition" and the Nook will be serious competition to the Kindle). These readers cost around $299.

The convenience and capabilities of these handy gadgets are obvious for the consumer and professional user:

  • Free lifetime wireless access to the online bookstore. Buy a book and have it in seconds
  • The Sony Reader and Nook also access Google Books (free repository of thousands of books classic and new) and your local public library (very cool)
  • Use a high resolution liquid ink. It really does feel like reading text on a page
  • Bookmarking and annotation, similar to what we do in our offline books
  • Light, mobile and can carry hundreds of publications
  • Access to newspapers, magazines and blogs of note
  • Ability to load Microsoft Office and PDF documents
  • Ability to play unprotected MP3 and AAC file, meaning you can load podcasts, songs, audiobooks
  • Connect to your computer and backup your digital materials

Circling back to where I began, while I have experienced the obvious value of using an e-reader as a professional, I have continued to discuss a theory I have about using these e-readers in financial organizations. Consider this as a possible scenario below.

  • After the standard hiring process, you have a new team member joining your practice.
  • As part of the onboarding procedures, in addition to your HR and business process, you also hand this team member a new e-reader as they walk in the door (yes this would be their's to keep once they complete the probationary period with you)
  • It is preloaded with the PDF's and Office documents that make up your handbook, operations processes and how-to's related to using systems and service providers
  • In addition, you as the practice principal would have picked out two books you feel have the biggest relevance to your business and have them available for the new staff member to read
  • If appropriate, you could also have a subscription to a periodical and/or newspaper (first year) that is pertinent to their role in your practice

This extends the paperless concept to onboarding. It also reflects to your new team member your commitment to process, learning and growing as technology play's a role in transforming how we carry out operations and our services.

Comments (2)

Have you given any thought to feeding quarterly performance reports or financial plans to e-readers owned by clients?
billwinterberg , December 19, 2009
That leads to a second point - I believe it would be valuable to offer an e-reader to your most premium clients - and then offer to feed those out to them. Excellent idea!
bwarrene , December 21, 2009

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