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5/6/2009
01:34 PM
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Amazon's Wide-Screen Kindle DX Debuts

The 9.7-inch display with more storage is being heralded by newspapers and textbook publishers as a lucrative partner in delivering their digital content.

Amazon Kindle DX
(click image for larger view)
Amazon Kindle DX

Amazon.com on Wednesday debuted the Kindle DX, with textbook publishers, universities, and major newspapers lining up to test the larger version of the retailer's original electronic book reader as a delivery tool for digital content.

As previously reported, the new device has a 9.7-inch display versus the original Kindle's 6-inch screen and supports Adobe's popular PDF document file format, which the smaller model lacks. Amazon is taking preorders for the Kindle DX, which the retailer plans to start shipping to customers in the summer. The device will be priced at $489.

With the exception of its size and larger storage capacity, the Kindle DX is very much like the smaller model. Besides the PDF support, the only other major feature is the ability to switch from portrait to landscape mode by turning the device horizontally.

While the technology isn't groundbreaking, the support Amazon has received from newspapers, textbook publishers, and universities could widen adoption of e-book readers as a digital distribution tool. While laptops can arguably be used for the same purpose, e-book readers, which use display technology from a company called E Ink, can show crisper graphics and text without the eyestrain and glare associated with the back light used in portable PCs.

Newspaper subscriptions are available with the original Kindle, but this time The New York Times, The Boston Globe, and The Washington Post will offer the Kindle DX at a reduced price to readers who live in areas where home delivery isn't available. The amount of the subsidy was not disclosed, but customers will have to agree to a long-term subscription to get it.

The strategy of selling a device for a cheaper price in order to attract subscribers has long been used by wireless service providers, which typically subsidize mobile phones in return for long-term contracts. However, the business model is new to financially troubled newspaper and magazine publishers, which are looking for new ways to attract subscribers and boost ad revenue lost to the Internet.

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