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Amazon New Kindle DX: Saint of Newspapers and Textbook Publishers

kindle2.JPGThe new $489 Kindle DX is the Big Kahuna of Amazon’s growing Kindle reader family. With its large 9.7-inch screen (the Kindle 2 available now only has a 6-inch screen), higher resolution (1200×824 instead of 600×300), and svelte, lightweight format, it’s meant to make heavily formatted and overly large documents readable. While it won’t be available until this summer, you’re welcome to pre-order one at

While a bigger Kindle might not sound particularly exciting and is definitely more expensive, there’s a bigger Kindle mission that’s gaining momentum. At a press conference on May 6th, Jeff Bezos, CEO of Amazon, announced some Kindle partnerships that may breathe life into a gasping print industry.

Amazon announced two major partnerships: one for students and one for newspaper readers. In a partnership with three of the top five textbook publishers, trials are being held at five well-known college campuses including Princeton, Case-Western, Reed College, University of Virginia, and Arizona State. Expensive textbooks—obsolete almost before the ink dries—will be available for the Kindle. Even the most heavily formatted calculus and anatomy books look quite lovely on the Kindle display. Students will have lighter loads and clearly save money over the course of four years at over $1,000 a year in textbooks.

Not a moment too soon, three ailing newspapers—The New York Times, The Washington Post, and The Boston Globe—will be offering their readers special discounts on a Kindle DX when they sign up for newspaper delivery. While details haven’t been announced, it’s clear we’re talking about saving trees as well as money.

The new Kindle DX is also a more open system. It’ll read PDF files, play music, and even convert the written word into speech. It’s got enough storage to house 3,500 books and uses the same 3G wireless network to download a book in less than 60 seconds with no subscription fees or service charges.

In terms of new technology, the Kindle is only a modest upgrade—a jumbo-sized version of its former self. In terms of creating a new e-book market that serves students and newspaper readers, Amazon strikes gold. When you can purchase content and have the Kindle discounted we all win.

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For history buffs, Stephen Levy saw it all coming in this 2007 Newsweek article