Since 2012, the CLEF has been distributing electronic editions of its materials and other works throughout the world via e-readers. What is an e-reader? Short for “Electronic Reader”, an e-reader is an electronic device that contains the texts of books in electronic form.
Why e-readers? It is simple really: One e-reader that weighs less than a pound, can contain over 1000 pounds of books! Also: Many of the books available in electronic format are in the public domain, and so, free of charge! That means for a minimum of cost, the CLEF can give to a student almost all of the books they will need to complete their education, as well as a substantial reference library.
Most compelling, however, is the fact that the e-readers CLEF distributes can instantly translate words for students. Why is that important? The students learning in seminaries overseas are being taught in English, which is a second language or third language for most if not all. Using the e-readers the CLEF provides, a student need simply to touch a word which they do not know and instantly the definition of that word will appear. The same capability is available for students who are learning in Spanish, French, or twelve other languages!
The Amazon Kindle Paperwhite
Although there are many E-Readers available on the market, one specific model, the Amazon Kindle Paperwhite lent itself to the work of the CLEF. Why? Here are a few reasons:
- 8 week battery life
- Easily readable in direct sunlight
- Holds up to 1,100 books
- Built-in dictionaries
- Wi-Fi accessible
- Over a million titles available (less than $9.99)
- Hundreds of thousands available to borrow
- Millions of public-domain books free to download
- Reads a variety of file formats including MS Word .doc and Adobe .pdf
Most importantly, Amazon has the largest international footprint in the e-reader market. That means that wherever the CLEF deploys Amazon Kindles throughout the work, they will function not only as stand-alone e-readers, but they also will continue to be updated and receive materials from the CLEF via the internet.
E-Reader Software Usable on All Devices
A truly wonderful aspect of distributing books electronically is that if students already have computers, laptops, tablets or smartphones, free software, called reading apps (short for applications!) can be downloaded on those devices enabling them to be used as e-readers. Once again, a variety of such programs are available. By far, however, the Kindle reading app from Amazon has become the standard. The Kindle app has become so common, in fact, that most computers, tablets and phones come with it already installed. If you do not already have the Kindle app on your computer, you can download it here.
Of course, there are other options. As this webpage demonstrates, there are a variety of free e-reader programs available from Adobe, Sony, Microsoft, Barnes and Noble, and others. And there are ways to read books on an electronic device that do not involve downloading any software at all, most notably, Google Books. There millions of books are available to read or preview.
So again, why Amazon Kindle Paperwhite e-readers? Inconsistent delivery of electricity and with it availability to the internet dictate that electronic devices go for weeks without charge, and need not be connected to the internet to be usable. This rules out laptops, tablets, smartphones and even color e-readers, leaving only devices like the Amazon Kindle Paperwhite.
How to Support the CLEF E-Book Project
There are a number of ways to support the E-book project:
- Donate gently used Kindles, Kindle Paperwhites, Kindle Paperwhite 3Gs, or Kindle DXs to the CLEF to be repurposed for use overseas. Unsure of your model? Check here.
- Donate $150.00 for the purchase of a Kindle Paperwhite, power adapter and screen protector for a seminarian.
- Donate an Amazon Gift Card to purchase e-books to place on the Kindles.
Gently used Kindles and donations to the CLEF E-Book Project should be sent to:
CLEF E-Book Project
P.O. Box 43844
Minneapolis, MN 55443