| August 19, 2011

Power to the People


Multi-Kindle Charger, courtesy of Voltaic

Worldreader is conducting a small trial at our US Test Facility (OK, my back yard.)  In June, Jon McCormack took a charger to Kenya to see how it would hold up in the field. It worked well, and will work even better once we address some practical questions about whether to charge directly or load up a battery.  But it’s just not cost-effective to buy a charger for every e-reader.

So the kind folks at Voltaic have done two things: they’ve created a prototype multi-Kindle solar charger to see how many e-readers we can charge simultaneously, and they’re donating a free charger for every charger we purchase.

Looking for the lightening bolt

If we can charge 5 e-readers at once (and we’re up to 3 so far), and we get a free charger for every one we purchase, the cost/e-reader charged declines by a factor of 10, to roughly $9.00/e-reader charging station. That’s still high, and there will be other issues we need to resolve (batteries and heat don’t get along too well), but we’re on the right track.  It’s another great example of how much we rely on the power of partnerships to bring books to all.