AfterDawn: Tech news

Amazon markets new Kindle DX for electronic textbooks

Written by Rich Fiscus (Google+) @ 07 May 2009 13:42 User comments (13)

Amazon markets new Kindle DX for electronic textbooks Yesterday Amazon officially announced the latest addition to its line of eBook readers, the Kindle DX. It features a 9.7 inch screen, which has two and a half times the area of the standard Kindle.
"Personal and professional documents look so good on the big Kindle DX display that you’ll find yourself changing ink-toner cartridges less often," said Jeff Bezos, Amazon.com Founder and CEO. "Cookbooks, computer books, and textbooks – anything highly formatted – also shine on the Kindle DX. Carry all your documents and your whole library in one slender package."

Besides the increased screen size, the Kindle DX also adds PDF support and auto-rotation of the image similar to the iPhone. The changes are designed to open new markets for which the small size of the original isn't suitable.

Arizona State University, Case Western Reserve University, Princeton University, Reed College, and Darden School of Business at the University of Virginia will all be trying out the new Kindle by distributing them to a sampling of students for use as a textbook reader.

"The Kindle DX holds enormous potential to influence the way students learn," said Barbara R. Snyder, president of Case Western Reserve University. "We look forward to seeing how the device affects the participation of both students and faculty in the educational experience."

Newspapers are also planning to get into the act. Major publications like the The New York Times, The Boston Globe, and The Washington Post will be offering the Kindle DX for a discount to subscribers of their new Kindle editions in markets where home delivery isn't available.

The Kindle DX is available for pre-order now from Amazon.com. It will start shipping this summer.

Its price of $489 is $130 more than the standard Kindle, which reportedly has a 100% profit margin.

Its hard to imagine many people paying nearly $500 for an eBook reader, although given the price of textbooks it may actually be a pretty reasonable deal for college students.

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13 user comments

17.5.2009 15:15

i rather buy a ps3

27.5.2009 15:38

Why not read a pdf, html, or other format on your laptop?

37.5.2009 16:07

Originally posted by gallagher:
Why not read a pdf, html, or other format on your laptop?
Well, it depends on what your reading. The DX is supposed to allow you to read for about 2 weeks on a single charge, assuming you turn off the wireless. I don't know of any laptop that will last more than 4 hours on a charge.

If you are on vacation or something and just want to read some material that is in PDF, HTML, or another Kindle-readable format you just transfer it to the Kindle and you won't have to pack along your laptop, it's case, a charger for it and more just to read a piece of material for work, fun, etc.

Peace

47.5.2009 17:34

I'd rather buy a prosti, but a kiosk would be more constructive. PC screens aren't in gray scale and give you headaches tardo. Let me illustrate using this graph.

War

57.5.2009 18:56

Does it still have DRM?

67.5.2009 22:33

I'd like to see sheet music on this thing. If there were a good library of sheet music, I might buy one just for use as a music display device.

78.5.2009 0:27

They need to make these affordable enough for school children. The average school kid has to lug around 5-7 thick text books, causing back pain at a young age. I bet most of these kids would love to switch to a device that weighs less than a pound and has all the same information (minus the "Krissy is a slut" written in the margins).

88.5.2009 1:35

Originally posted by KillerBug:
They need to make these affordable enough for school children. The average school kid has to lug around 5-7 thick text books, causing back pain at a young age. I bet most of these kids would love to switch to a device that weighs less than a pound and has all the same information (minus the "Krissy is a slut" written in the margins).
Well, for me I could easily be on positive ground after one or two semesters depending on how much the eBook version of the textbooks cost...

98.5.2009 2:59

This thing is WAY too limited and expensive if they ever want to become ubiquitous. The DRM, B/W screen. Hell, I'm surprised they let them put a PDF reader in it. Probably only copyrighted PDFs will display!

They're free to charge whatever they want but if they REALLY want to be everywhere then they need to make some changes. As it is, it's a niche market only for rich trust fund students who have to have the latest and greatest. The rest of us will read our .torrent downloaded e-texts on our hand-me-down notebooks running Windows XP Like GOD intended! ;)

108.5.2009 12:14

It is a great idea, however all the eInk devices are very very delicate, a simple fall, a small twist because it isn't in a stable case, a device that isn't protected enough in a back pack that is tossed in a pile.... I could go on, any are enough to break the screen. With the current Kindle you just send back the machine, pay the current price of a new one and you get back a new item. No repair, at least at last notification.
The latest thing in the readers that are eInk is insurance that will replace 1, and I mean ONE, reader or screen for screen breakage. There is a lot of anger out of there from the people who own eInk readers and have had this problem. I own one eInk device and I am very careful of it. It is two years old and still running.
You are thinking of giving them to children who are always breaking stuff, accidently, well they are children and that is what children do, Definition of child is someone who is not an adult... College students are rarely adults.
Look I am all in favor of ereaders. I own 7 or so readers. I hope everyone learns to use them, they are great things. The eInk readers are still new enough that they haven't figured out how to keep them from breaking while the old fashioned ones live on and on and on..
Rather than who is going to pay for them, figure out who is going to replace/repair them. When you do that then you will have the perfect reader for everyone.
Remember computers refresh their screen, can cause a little pain if you read for hours. Readers don't refresh their screens, they figured out a long time ago that letters and words usually stay/stand still until you change the page, that is why you use a reader and not a computer.
Once you open a page in eInk it uses basically no power to maintain it, just a trickle to be on, and in fact if you turn on an eInk device, select a page and let it sit there for a week or so, when you come back, the power will all be gone, but the page will still be there on the screen.
So good luck Amazon, watch your back, Barnes and Nobles has just purchased one of the largest ebook online stores and I just know they are looking to come out with an ereader that will be as cheap by at least 1 penny and will knock your socks off. Not to mention not use the mobipocket format but the eReader format. This is gonna be a good fight and I don't know who I am routing to win. Use both formats.

118.5.2009 23:10

I didn't realize the eInk problems were that severe...perhapse a better solution to the issue I mentioned would be a LCD screen ebook reader. I have an old one of those from around 1996, and it has taken a massive beating. It only has two problems: the battery died after about 6 years, and they no longer make it...and McGraw Hill never released any ebooks for it.

Seriously, kids that weigh 80lbs should not have to lug around a 50lbs backpack all day. When I was in middle school, I had 7 thick text books (all hardcover, all with large font & large margins). To make matters worse, the school was so overfilled that there were not enough lockers for everyone (and I was one of the kids that did not get a locker). I started chirpractic theropy in 6th grade because of this!

As for laptops, many schools still have rules against using a laptop in class (some schools will not even allow students to bring laptops, categorizing them with DVD players).

129.5.2009 0:38

Quote:
Its hard to imagine many people paying nearly $500 for an eBook reader, although given the price of textbooks it may actually be a pretty reasonable deal for college students.

I wouldn't expect the e-version of the textbooks to have a huge price drop. Do you really think that a 300 page textbook actually costs anywhere near $150-200 to manufacture? No, the rest is what they charge for the information in the book, not the actual pages that info is printed on.

139.5.2009 13:37

Publishing, not manufacturing, is the correct word you are looking for.
Already publishers are realizing that they can make money from ebooks, almost no cost except authors and transferring to the various ebooks stores.
Granted there will always be people who gouge government for what ever they can get. Granted government is so used to this gouging that it is now built into most projects including schools.
There are ways to get around this, it just takes one courageous school district to start.
My concern is that because we are dealing with children, of what ever age group, you are going to get lost readers, broken readers, stolen readers, and what ever else they come up with. This is going to be the biggest problem and will be the downfall of the program. Not the cost of the ebooks.

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