Amazon targets large groups with Kindle distribution tool

Amazon is introducing a podcast like distribution tool for documents, aimed at schools and businesses.

The new free tool, Whispercast, allows an organization to link multiple devices in a form of network, though files only transfer in one direction. Managers will be able to put individual Kindles into separate groups (for example corporate departments or different school classes) and then automatically send materials to everyone in a particular group. Users will need to be on Wi-Fi rather than 3G to get the content.

The system will work with personal documents, meaning a teacher could create and send a lesson schedule to every pupil, or a human resources department could distribute a new staff manual. The Whispercast service will also allow organizations to send documents to anyone with a device that runs the Kindle app.

As well as personal documents, organizations can distribute Kindle books through Whispercast. For example, a school could buy an electronic textbook “in bulk” and send it to an entire class. It’s not clear if there’ll be special pricing for such purchases.

The idea is that the system will work whether users bring their own Kindles or if the organization buys devices for them. For those who hand out Kindles, there’ll be tools to centrally register them, require a password, control Internet access, and decide what if any material users can buy on the Kindle. There will also be a tool to block users from carrying out a factory reset or deregistering a Kindle and transferring it to their own account.

Amazon is also offering bulk discounts to schools or businesses that buy a batch of Kindles. It’s not offering specific discounts but rather inviting buyers to ask for a quote.

(Image credit: Amazon)