New York — Amazon announced a summer launch for the new $489 Kindle DX e-book reader featuring a larger 9.7-inch screen.
The company also announced that textbook publishers and newspapers will commence discount and promotional trials on the device.
Like its predecessor, the Kindle DX will sell exclusively through Amazon.com although Kindle VP Ian Freed said the company may consider offering e-book readers through other retailers in the more distant future.
The DX’s new larger screen — 2.5 times larger than the current Kindle 2 — enables better views of newspapers and textbooks. Threes newspapers, The New York Times, The Boston Globe and The Washington Post, will launch trials this summer offering the Kindle DX at a reduced rate in exchange for a subscription to subscribers who live outside of their delivery range, it said.
At a press conference today, Amazon also said that four textbook publishers will begin trials this fall offering university students e-textbooks via the Kindle. Seven universities, including Princeton, Arizona State, Case Western Reserve, Reed College, Darden School of Business, University of Virginia and Pace University, will participate in the trails. Case Western said it will loan 40 students Kindles for the semester, and Pace University said it will loan 50 students the devices. The textbooks in e-book form are expected to be less expensive than printed versions. Analysts say that the conversion of textbooks to e-book format could be the catalyst that brings e-book readers into mass-market levels.
The new Kindle DX adds other advances over the current Kindle 2 that sells at $359. The step-up model has a PDF reader, an auto-rotate feature to switch to landscape mode and a larger capacity to hold 3,500 books (vs. 1,500 in the Kindle 2). The device is just more than one-third of an inch thick and, as other Kindles, allows over-the-air downloads of e-books from Amazon.com via free 3G service.
Amazon said it added 45,000 books to its online library in the past three months for a total of more than 275,000, including 107 of the current 112 titles on The New York Times Best Seller list. In addition, e-book sales are now 35 percent of those titles that are available for the Kindle.