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5/4/2009
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Amazon Plans Large-Screen Kindle To Reignite Newspaper Business

The device's screen will be about the size of a standard sheet of paper, large enough for newspaper and magazine publishers to maintain their traditional format for articles and advertising.

Amazon's Kindle 2
(click image for larger view)
Amazon's Kindle 2
Amazon.com could introduce this week a large-screen Kindle made for displaying newspapers and magazines, a move meant to help the publishing industry attract paying subscribers lured by free content on the Internet.

The online retailer could introduce the device as early as this week, The New York Times reported, quoting people familiar with Amazon's plans. Amazon has reportedly scheduled a Wednesday news conference in New York, but has not given a reason for the gathering.

However, The Wall Street Journal reported later Monday that the new version of the Kindle is also designed for academic textbook publishers. The newspaper said Case Western Reserve University in Cleveland would hand out the device to some freshmen with textbooks for chemistry and computer science preinstalled. The experiment will test the experience of using the Kindle versus traditional textbooks.

Pace University, Princeton University, Reed College, Darden School at the University of Virginia, and Arizona State University are also involved in the project, according to the newspaper. However, how the schools are involved was not described.

The device is expected to have a screen that's roughly the size of a standard sheet of paper, which would be large enough for newspaper and magazine publishers to maintain their traditional format for articles and advertising. The attraction of such a device would be in supporting publishers' business model of selling subscriptions and ads.

Amazon was not immediately available for comment Monday.

The current Kindle has a 6-inch-diagonal screen made for reading books. However, Amazon also offers dozens of newspapers and magazines for the device, which sells for $359. Content downloads, which are only available through Amazon, are done through a wireless connection that comes with the device at no additional charge.

If Amazon unveils the jumbo Kindle, than the company will join News Corp. and magazine publisher Hearst, which are also planning to release such devices. In addition, startup Plastic Logic is expected to start making electronic newspaper readers by the end of the year.

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