Giant Kindle targets commuters and students

Kindle DX

Amazon is set to unveil a new Kindle reader with a much larger screen designed for newspapers and magazines. The new model may also be an attempt to capture the textbook market.

The company has a press conference scheduled for a New York university tomorrow, but the news of the device has already broken. Pictures of the new Kindle (including the one shown here) have already appeared at Endgadget, which is rapidly becoming the home of leaked product images. That site also says the device will be known as the Kindle DX, a detail not confirmed anywhere else.

The increased screen size, reported as 9.7”, should make it easier to view newspaper pages complete with photos and – more importantly for the publications – adverts. However, the more important point to watch for is whether Amazon announces any changes to its pricing policy. At the moment it insists on fixed pricing for all periodicals, but publishers argue they need the discretion to set the price that best suits their audience.

The university setting of the press conference may link into reports that Amazon is targeting the textbook market. There are even claims that some leading universities will supply all new students with the large-screen Kindle, complete with course textbooks preloaded. However, it’s not clear if students will get the devices free of charge or simply have them subsidized.

With students nationwide spending something in the region of $8.6 billion a year on textbooks, that’s a lucrative market to get into, particularly considering the high proportion of costs which goes on paper and printing means Amazon has room to undercut publishers.

BetaNews makes a good point about why students might not be keen on the idea: unlike with printed textbooks, they’d not be able to sell the content on the second-hand book market after finishing their modules.

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