Today, Amazon founder and CEO Jeff Bezos unveiled the Kindle DX, a larger version of the company’s flagship e-reader, with dimensions better suited to reading textbooks, newspapers, and PDF documents.
The Kindle DX was launched on the campus of Pace University, in New York City, just three months after Amazon announced the Kindle 2–an improved version of the original device. While experts agree that the Kindle DX, which comes with a 25-centimeter screen, is well designed and promising, some still question how successfully it will replace paper and ink.
To coincide with the launch of the Kindle DX, Amazon announced partnerships with several universities and newspapers. The newspapers involved are no doubt hoping to see electronic readers help revive their business models, which have been weakened by falling circulation figures, lower online advertising rates, and increased competition from the Web. The New York Times, the Washington Post, and the Boston Globe will start pilot marketing programs in the summer, offering readers a cheaper device for a subscription commitment.
At the event, Arthur Sulzberger, chairman of the New York Times, said that the Kindle DX now provides an e-reader experience that is as satisfying as that of reading print. But Sulzberger said that the New York Times and the Boston Globe would only offer reduced subscription rates for DX readers in areas where home delivery is not available.
Six higher-learning institutions will also start Kindle pilot programs this fall: Arizona State University, Case Western University, Pace University, Princeton University, Reed College, and the University of Virginia. Barbara Snyder, president of Case Western, says that her university plans to select a group of 40 students to use the Kindle DX and will compare their performance with that of students in the same classes who don’t use the Kindle. “If it helps learning, we’re certainly interested in going forward,” Snyder says.
At today’s launch event, Bezos said that Amazon’s newest Kindle is meant to maintain the momentum built up by the previous two devices. For titles that come in Kindle format, he said that Kindle sales now make up 35 percent of Amazon’s total for each–up from 13 percent in February, when the Kindle 2 was announced.