Wednesday, May 06, 2009

Kindle DX: The Kindle For Work

The long rumored larger screen Kindle DX was announced today. It has a 9.7" screen, all the features of the Kindle 2 plus native PDF support and an auto-rotating screen. It will sell for $489 starting this summer (not clear why the announcement was today). Video of it in action from Amazon here. Reviews and discussions on the Kindle DX available at Engadget, Gizmodo, CrunchGear and MobileRead.

The screen is twice as large as the Kindle 2 (1200 x 824 pixels vs. 800 x 600), the page turn is fairly similar (impressive as the screen is larger) and sells for just $130 more (I was expecting a price of $600-700). It could be the first 9.7" e-book for sale as similar 9.7" e-books such as the Hanlin V9, the Netronix EB-300 and the Astak E-book reader have been announced but none are yet for sale.

While there is talk in the Twittersphere that the price is too high, I think this misses the point that this is not a Kindle for pleasure reading but rather one for work. It's market will be professionals and students who will use it a lot and will get much more than $500 worth of value out of it.

The first market I see is for professionals such as lawyers, professors, computer programmers, and doctors that read a lot each day. Much of what they read is in PDF format that is not adequately shown on a smaller screen and therefore require a larger screen. The ability to keep all their documents with them, to search them all easily, and to carry one light weight device rather than lots of papers and books will be very valuable. For those making $100,000 a year it is easy to justify a $500 expenditure with a slight improvement in productivity.

The second big market is college students. Arizona State, Case Western, Princeton, Virginia and Reed College have all signed up to start using them. While Bezos announced that three textbook publishers with 60 percent of the higher education textbook market: Pearson, Cengage Learning and Wiley will be releasing books for the Kindle, any word on pricing was suspiciously absent. There are lots of new interesting business models for selling textbooks, but it is not clear which route Amazon will go. With no resale value, what will they consider a fair price? With college students spending $900 on textbooks and supplies a year, they should be able to purchase a Kindle DX, pay a reasonable price for textbook and still spend less money each year. The market here is huge, but the textbooks need to be priced right for students to want to get the Kindle.

The Kindle DX is getting close to the $300 price where it would be cheaper to give a student entering junior high an e-book and digital textbooks than it would be to purchase physical textbooks for use. Not to mention a whole heck of a lot lighter. If Amazon can get the price down to that, there will be a huge additional market for Kindles with K-12 students.

I have been waiting for a large screen e-book with the ability to view PDF files natively and this fits the bill perfectly. I predict this will be a big hit with professionals and, if the pricing scheme on textbooks is good, college students as well.

One last factoid: Bezos mentioned that there are 275,000 books in Kindle format and Kindle sales are now 35% of books where Amazon has Kindle editions.

1 comment:

fergie said...

I bought a Kindle 2 and had it for three weeks. I just couldn't wait for the DX. When the DX arived I returned the kindle 2. I am completely satisified with the Kindle DX. I think it is a great piece of engineering technology. see Amazon Kindle DX

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