The release of the new Kids Fire HD tablet by Amazon is not only a clear indicator that the company wants to encourage kids to read… it also shows that Amazon is smart enough to recognize the huge market represented by millions of kids around the world and the demand for good kids’ content.
After many years working full-time as a writer I have been working again in business management for the past year and a half. I am surprised by the poor quality of writing that I sometimes encounter in the “business world” and in particular among the younger generation as they start their business careers. I can find several directions to point the finger of blame: television, video games, and phone messages written in “text-speak”. On top of that a high percentage of young people’s “reading” takes place on sites like Facebook.
The reality is that many of our young people are growing up with a poor grasp of the written word. Instead of pointing fingers of blame, however, we would probably be better to keep coming up with solutions to get our kids reading again. I think Amazon is once again leading the way by giving parents some great tools to encourage reading and education.
Here are some of the reasons why I think Amazon’s new Kids Fire HD tablet will be a game changer for kids and for children’s authors.
- This new tablet encourages kids to read. It’s a “cool” device that helps make reading fun. Kids Fire HD comes in 6″ and 7″ versions and comes with covers in a choice of pink, blue or green.
- It comes with a robust protective case and Amazon is going the extra mile in providing a two-year warranty. If your kids break it, Amazon will replace it.
- Kids Fire HD comes with one year of FreeTime Unlimited. This is Amazon’s carefully curated selection of children’s books, videos, TV shows, apps, and games. This Free Time Unlimited has been designed especially for kids between 3 and 8 years old and normally costs $2.99 per month for Amazon Prime members or $6.99 per family. But FreeTime Unlimited has a really good twist which is a game changer.“FreeTime” is actually a parental-control feature on the latest Kindle tablets that allows parents to create a personalized experience for each of your kids. Not only can you track your kids’ performance and award achievement badges when they achieve their goals, you can also manage how much time they spend on the devices and what content they can access. For example, you can restrict access to inappropriate content. You can limit the time they spend watching videos or playing games. Or better still, you can set up a reward system so they have to read books for a certain amount of time before videos and games are unlocked.
- Amazon’s ereading devices – including the Kids Fire HD and Kindle range – help kids to build their vocabulary. When they come across a word they do not know they can simply tap on the word to bring up the definition or meaning.
- In addition to ebooks, educational apps can increase your kids’ learning. Of course as authors we love books but there is no arguing that there are many excellent educational apps available for kids these days.
- The market for children’s books will now be growing faster and that’s great for children’s authors. Amazon realises the market for kids’ content is huge and this new product and expanding market makes it easier than ever to promote children’s books to a wider audience.
- These tablets enable more creativity in the writing and reading process, increasing the market for interactive or “enhanced” books. Think “pop-ups” plot twists, and more.
Amazon has a track record or coming up with great new initiatives to encourage reading. The launch of the very first Kindle is a good example. I for one hope that this special tablet for kids might turn out to be another.