May 26, 2022

Let’s Try It Again! State Dept. Issues RFI for E-Reader Devices and Services

On Thursday we reported that the State Dept. had formally withdrawn/cancelled its plan to sole source a contract to for Kindle devices and management. The planned deal raised a bunch of eyebrows since it was first announced in June and an event to announce the State Dept. Learning Initiative was announced an cancelled within a few days.

Today, infoDOCKET learned that the State Department has just released a RFI (Request for Information) to learn about vendors who can, “provide e-reader devices and a secure, comprehensive and continuous content management and distribution platform.”

You can read the complete RFI here.

We’ve embedded two supporting documents below.

Those wanting to respond to the RFI have until 5pm Eastern Time on September 21, 2012.

Highlights from the RFI

Over the past decade, the DoS has produced, procured and/or curated increasing amounts of digital content to meet the changing consumption patterns of citizens around the world. As citizens increasingly receive news and information via digital platforms it is imperative that the DoS continue to evolve its content distribution infrastructure.

This platform must provide the ability to centrally manage, procure, and wirelessly distribute USG and 3rd party content across a multitude of devices located in over 190 countries. The platform must support the registration of new devices as well as provide continuing support for existing DoS devices, which number over 6,000. The more than 6,000 existing devices include multiple Amazon Kindle models, multiple Apple iPad models, and a variety of Android devices currently in use at over 800 embassies, consulates, American Spaces and schools overseas.

The vendor must provide 3G services to download content globally, including all costs associated with content delivery via 3G services globally.

The vendor must provide a large and comprehensive public-facing, online bookstore of third party content.

When third-party content providers have granted the vendor the right to distribute their content at a specific price to the DoS, the vendor shall distribute that content to DoS at said price via 3G or Wi-Fi to the locations listed in the attachment entitled “Deployment Locations”. The vendor should also reduce its commission charged to the third party content providers by an equitable percentage.

The vendor must wirelessly disseminate content to the DoS’s existing devices, including Amazon Kindles, Apple iOS, Android, PC, and MAC.

. The vendor must provide centralized content purchases, management and dissemination for all numbers of or subsets of DoS devices (e.g., Apple iOS, Android, Amazon Kindle, PC, and MAC) deployed around the world.

The vendor shall deliver devices meeting the following specifications: must provide at least a 6″ diagonal display; must hold up to 1,400 books or have at least 2GB of internal memory; must be accessible to public and private Wi-Fi networks or hotspots that use the 802.11b, 802.11g, or 802.11n standard with support for WEP, WPA and WPA2 security using password authentication or Wi-Fi Protected Setup (WPS); must not connect to WPA and WPA2 secured networks using 802.1X authentication methods; must not connect to ad-hoc (or peer-to-peer) Wi-Fi networks; and must include a front light feature or include backlight technology.

The device shall have a text-to-speech capability in English so that users are able to listen to content on the device.

The device shall support the display of a variety of file formats, including PDF, TXT, MOBI, PRC, HTML, DOC(X), JPEG, PNG, GIF, and BMP.

Read the complete RFI.

Section 508 Compliance Table (E-Reader Devices)

Deployment Locations–U.S. Department of State (E-Reader RFI; August 2012)

About Gary Price

Gary Price ( is a librarian, writer, consultant, and frequent conference speaker based in the Washington D.C. metro area. Before launching INFOdocket, Price and Shirl Kennedy were the founders and senior editors at ResourceShelf and DocuTicker for 10 years. From 2006-2009 he was Director of Online Information Services at, and is currently a contributing editor at Search Engine Land.