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Amazon Kindle DX Details Revealed

Soulskill posted more than 5 years ago | from the giving-newspapers-hope dept.

Books 312

theodp writes with news that details for the Kindle DX are now available. "Specs-wise, the big changes are a larger 9.7-inch screen that rotates to landscape display, a PDF reader, and more storage space. The Kindle DX carries a $489 price tag (compared to the $359 Kindle 2)." Engadget has a series of pictures from Jeff Bezos' presentation, and the Amazon product information page has further details and a video. According to the press release, Amazon has worked out a deal with The New York Times, The Boston Globe, and The Washington Post to "offer the Kindle DX at a reduced price to readers who live in areas where home-delivery is not available."

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Too expensive (2, Insightful)

InsaneProcessor (869563) | more than 5 years ago | (#27847435)

I will not pay that price as long as books are cheap and PDFs can be read on my computer.

as long as books are cheap (4, Insightful)

wiredog (43288) | more than 5 years ago | (#27847537)

Checked out the price of college textbooks lately?

Re:as long as books are cheap (2, Informative)

InsaneProcessor (869563) | more than 5 years ago | (#27847581)

yes, buying them for both of my sons. Buy used, the resell when done. Net result is low cost.

Re:as long as books are cheap (4, Insightful)

0100010001010011 (652467) | more than 5 years ago | (#27847859)

Selling my engineering books is my biggest regret. I swore up and down I'd never need Thermodynamics. I'm a controls engineer...

Low and behold I'm controlling a thermodynamic system.

Wiki and other such sites are wonderful, but they're not presented in the medium that I learned them in with the coefficients and with the equations as I learned them.

Engineers, hold on to your text books. I know that $20 for beer looks good now but you'll want that book later much more than you want the beer now.

Re:as long as books are cheap (0, Offtopic)

Reece400 (584378) | more than 5 years ago | (#27847901)

Your lucky, most every text book I needed yearly editions, where there essentially mix up the contents so you are forced to buy the newest one to keep in line with the rest of the class...

Re:as long as books are cheap (2, Interesting)

exploder (196936) | more than 5 years ago | (#27848459)

Publishers have all sorts of schemes to prevent this from working in practice. Was either of your sons required to buy "Freshman Intro Text, 19th Edition"? Or do any of those texts have an online component?

God I hate textbook publishers. Graduate texts are much more sane, thankfully.

Re:as long as books are cheap (5, Interesting)

milimetric (840694) | more than 5 years ago | (#27847699)

Textbooks are expensive only in small part due to the hardcover / high quality paper they're printed on. The IP of the authors is what costs the most money.

Most likely the Kindle + e-versions of textbooks will be only slightly cheaper than paper textbooks. To really see the savings of the kindle you have to look deeper. Pens, paper, notebooks used to write notes on will be in some large part replaced by the annotation capabilities of the Kindle. Mobile internet for life is also something that people seem to underestimate. Furthermore, reducing paper waste seems to me by far the biggest cost reduction. It's just not one that we typically factor in when we're sliding our credit card.

Here's to a better world and better Kindles to come.

Re:as long as books are cheap (2, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#27847889)

Yeah, but you can resell textbooks (unless the author is cynical and updates every year, and also somehow controls the course and thus makes that course require the new book).

Surely at some point there will be open source textbooks which you can use at your choice of online university that doesn't make you give money to your course lecturer.

Hierarchical purchasing and the netbook threat (2, Interesting)

goombah99 (560566) | more than 5 years ago | (#27848003)

I suspect that text books are expensive in part because of the hierarchical purchasing structure that amplifies success and failure. It's like the movie industry where in any given year there's only enough theater space, interest and mind share so you have a few collosal winners and a lot of losers that still cost you money.

As for kindle, I think it is going to get bracketed by apple and die. Let me first say the big hope here is the subscription model. It's perfect for the NYtimes which is best read old school on large paper. (if you don't beleive me, try buying a copy at starbucks and see if you don't find it more satisfying and leisurely to read that way even though in theory the content is the same as the web.)

Anyhow, the point is given a choice of carrying a kindle plus some a netbook or just a net book and I suspect the netbook wins if it's added features make it compelling enough to outweigh the e-ink legibility advantage.

Subsidize this netbook with a verizon data-only contract and you have ubiquitous on-the go computing at an affordable price. The key thing here is that both the kindle and the netbook want a cell phone connection. But the Kindle is going to seek subsidy from the content providers whereas the netbook is going to seek subsidy from the deeper pockets of the cell phone providers.

Right now no one has a netbook that is sufficiently compelling, and kindle's price range puts in mainly in the hands of people who are not price sensitive or need to worry about choosing between two devices.

But what is going to kill the kindle I think is bracketing by apple. When apple comes out with a high performance netbook it will be something about the same size but with a lot more capability. I expect it will even have game capability. what really set the iPhone apart from all the previous pda-smartphones was it's performance. it has an integrated conformal mattery that I think gives them enough extra juice in a small space to power a much more capable device and they gave it a familiar OS and stack underneath that can run real applications. I suspect apples purchase of freescale and embrace of Nivida chips is aimed squarely at small devices with higher performance.

kindle won't be able to compete against a device like that.

Re:Hierarchical purchasing and the netbook threat (5, Insightful)

infosinger (769408) | more than 5 years ago | (#27848413)

Except for one thing--- E-ink. This display technology sets these devices apart from any computer or netbook. The problem is that E-ink is a very poor choice for a general purpose computer--its refresh rate is way too slow. So, unless Apple wants to license E-ink and come up with a book reading device, I kind of doubt they are going to bracket Amazon. I have a very high quality display at home and I will take the Kindle any time for book reading.

Re:Hierarchical purchasing and the netbook threat (-1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#27848465)

Except for one thing--- E-ink. .

Ironically you did prove your point about not being able to read a computer screen, since the post you replied to said exactly that.

Re:as long as books are cheap (2, Interesting)

Dare nMc (468959) | more than 5 years ago | (#27848027)

The IP of the authors is what costs the most money.

close, but wrong, between $.20 to $1.06 goes to the author, $3-$6 is the printing cost: To calculate the royalty you earn per book sold you multiply five percent, or .05, times $20. The result equals $1. So that's the royalty you earn for every book the publisher sells. [buzzle.com]
the Publisher eats the majority of the remaining profit. Straight to ebook should remove that overhead and I think reduce the cost by at least 60%.

Re:as long as books are cheap (1)

Rolgar (556636) | more than 5 years ago | (#27848417)

I recall reading that college books are made intentionally inferior to grade/high school texts for several reasons. The public schools are selling the books to institutions that make large orders, and expect to use the books for several years.

College texts are sold to college bookstores, which you might have 1 to 3 in most college towns, and the student has no choice in which book to get, because the teacher or department decides for them. Then the publisher makes minor alterations to the text from one year, giving the school and the (school owned?) bookstore the opportunity to phase out last year's book with a nearly identical one. This is planned obsolescence at it's finest.

The only way to really break the text book cartel is a commitment to open commons texts that students can put directly on their reader, computer, or have printed at the publisher of their choice. Have a foundation that produces half a dozen texts on each subject at various grade levels, and the educators would still have the option to choose texts that they like, or even mix and match different sections of the texts they like. And you'd probably have printers pop up that would compete to distribute the open texts solely on price and quality, and I'm pretty sure they could get the price of a single copy with a hefty profit for under $20.

Re:as long as books are cheap (1)

exploder (196936) | more than 5 years ago | (#27848535)

Pens, paper, notebooks used to write notes on will be in some large part replaced by the annotation capabilities of the Kindle.

I'm skeptical. Until I can write (and draw!) small and legibly, wherever in the text I like, it's not good enough.

Resolution of the digitizer, and resolution and response time of the display are limiting factors here, I think.

Re:as long as books are cheap (1)

alen (225700) | more than 5 years ago | (#27847717)

not like the e versions of textbooks will be any cheaper?

some schools already have drm's pdf's instead of physical books. same price and the drm is annoying to use

Re:Too expensive (5, Insightful)

langelgjm (860756) | more than 5 years ago | (#27847601)

As someone who has to read a lot of PDFs, I've gotten sick of reading them on the computer. If they're more than about 5 pages long, it's really irritating. Printing them out wastes paper, and takes a long time when they can be dozens or even hundreds of pages long.

The whole point of an e-book reader is the e-ink display. When I first saw one, it was amazing how much easier to read it is than a computer screen.

I pre-ordered a Kindle DX today. I'd been looking at the iRex DR-1000, but it was even more expensive, and has very mixed reviews. I anticipate using the DX on a daily basis probably for the next several years (grad student)... and I won't have to be tied to a computer, or drag around a laptop. Battery life is supposed to better even than netbooks.

I would love it as (3, Insightful)

Shivetya (243324) | more than 5 years ago | (#27847645)

a text book replacement.

Of course colleges would be loathe to give up the money they make selling new books to students each year...

but...

it would make the lives of students easier... done right a kiosk could let you download all the stuff you need for each class.

give me an oil and shock resistant one this size and it means the mechanic has a reference at his fingertips...

there are so many possibilities and so many with their existing revenue streams endangered...

Re:I would love it as (4, Insightful)

MarcoAtWork (28889) | more than 5 years ago | (#27847751)

why would they give up the money? they'd still charge you for the textbooks AND you won't be able to lend them (you can't lend just one of your books, you'd have to lend them all, and that usually doesn't work) AND you won't be able to resell them at the end of the semester.

I think the schoolbook publishing industry will jump in with both feet here, basically completely cutting out the used market and any sort of sharing of books, 1 student = 1 book every semester, it will make them a ton of money; roll it in in the college tuition and it will work even better for them in terms of guaranteed income.

Re:I would love it as (1)

moderatorrater (1095745) | more than 5 years ago | (#27848309)

they'd still charge you for the textbooks AND you won't be able to lend them (you can't lend just one of your books, you'd have to lend them all, and that usually doesn't work) AND you won't be able to resell them at the end of the semester.

Set the price point just above the difference in cost and resale value. The students were going to lose almost that much anyway, but now they get to keep the textbook and they don't have to carry them around with them everywhere. It would be convincing enough to get a small market at the very least. Pushing it forward, Amazon could easily make a program where you can "sell back" the book, making it so that the kindle deletes the book and you can't download it anymore.

Re:I would love it as (1)

AxoltAl (1155115) | more than 5 years ago | (#27848363)

Given the existence of a usb port, what is stopping students from sharing single textbooks?

Re:I would love it as (1)

ranos (18639) | more than 5 years ago | (#27848461)

The fact that the textbooks won't be available in a non-DRM format ?

Re:I would love it as (1)

moderatorrater (1095745) | more than 5 years ago | (#27848247)

give me an oil and shock resistant one this size and it means the mechanic has a reference at his fingertips...

No it doesn't. Just from playing Warhammer I know that electronic versions of books aren't as useful when you need a quick reference as a hard copy is. The mechanic will know where in the manual he needs to flip and be able to find the page within 2 seconds. The kindle would require him to go back to the index, find the entry, then flip to the entry and scan down the page using the kindle's controls until he finds what he's looking for. Skimming through the kindle isn't really easy either compared to skimming through a book.

For textbooks (I'm out of college, so it's been a while), I'm on the fence. I could see it being useful and a hell of a lot lighter, but on the other hand you don't have the ability to flip through. I think in this case the positives would outweigh the negatives.

Overall, I think the Kindle's a fantastic device, but not as useful as people seem to think when needing to jump to different sections quickly and easily.

Great, but... (1, Troll)

bigjarom (950328) | more than 5 years ago | (#27847441)

Just wait until Apple comes out with its color version.
I don't get how Amazon can get into the digital textbook market without color. Do they not understand that the colored graphs and illustrations are the only interesting part of textbooks?

Re:Great, but... (1, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#27847485)

Apparently the colour E-Ink they've seen demoed isn't up to par yet. It's coming though, I'm sure.

Regardless, Amazon is going to make an absolute killing with these things.

Re:Great, but... (1)

bastion_xx (233612) | more than 5 years ago | (#27847493)

It's e-ink technology and only comes in monochrome at the moment.

Good Next Step (5, Insightful)

Sponge Bath (413667) | more than 5 years ago | (#27847453)

Good: Size and ability to download your own PDFs via USB. Price is not that outrageous for an early adopter type product.

Needs Improvement: Add SD card reader and WiFi. Switch between WiFi and 3G like the iPhone does so you can use a faster WiFi connection when available.

Bad: Disables table of contents feature for PDFs. Dumb

Re:Good Next Step (2, Interesting)

langelgjm (860756) | more than 5 years ago | (#27847637)

The original Kindle had an SD slot... this one has 4 GB, which is quite a bit, but I agree, why not include one? I already have about 2 GB of PDFs on my computer.

Re:Good Next Step (0)

Hadlock (143607) | more than 5 years ago | (#27848017)

I can't imagine a situation where you need to carry around more than 1GB of PDF files where you wouldn't also already have your laptop handy. Maybe an office copier machine repair man, but our guy already carries a laptop with 3G wireless. The idea of needing to have 3000 books on hand is sort of rediculous. I'm guessing the real reason for 4gb of storage is to hold all those image heavy text books at 200mb a pop.
 
SD card just opens the door to hacking this thing to use the free wireless for other purposes see also: Nintendo DS, Sony PSP, Nintendo Wii.

Re:Good Next Step (2, Insightful)

fm6 (162816) | more than 5 years ago | (#27848069)

Because every little bit of hardware you add to a device raises the price. Consumer devices are sold on paper-thin margins, so you aim on the likely use case. You don't add features, however cheap, that most of your users will never need.

The exception to this is legacy features, like those infrared ports you see on so many laptops. But this is a totally new application — there's no history to impose legacy features.

Re:Good Next Step (1)

fm6 (162816) | more than 5 years ago | (#27847941)

Disagree with your criticisms.

Here, network connectivity is a book delivery mechanism that's going to be off most of the time. You can use it for web browsing, but really this isn't a great web appliance even with a fast connection. So why bother with the weight, cost, and power drain of WiFi?

Don't really see the point of an SD card. Sneakernet? Use USB. Extra storage? Internal is over 3 GB; how many books do you need to carry around with you?

By "table of contents feature" I assume you mean the bookmark pane [centralbasin.org] ? Kind of hard to support when there's no mouse or touch screen. I suppose it's doable, but you'd complicate the user interface quite a bit. You might consider that a reasonable tradeoff, but this is not a geek device.

This is not an "early adopter" price. It's a luxury item, and priced accordingly. Notice that the 6-inch Kindle has done quite well at 75% of this price. Both will be out of the price range of a lot of people. But somebody who travels a lot can afford to drop this much on a device, and would probably find it worth it to have a ebook reader that goes days without recharging. If I fit that kind of profile, I'd consider the price more than reasonable.

Re:Good Next Step (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#27848007)

"So why bother with the weight, cost, and power drain of WiFi?"

Because this kind of machine is targeted to people who travel, and people who travel internationally often do not have cell connections. WiFi is everywhere.

Re:Good Next Step (2, Interesting)

Aladrin (926209) | more than 5 years ago | (#27848225)

Books with graphics get to be rather large. Books with markup tend to get rather large as well.

And just like MP3 players, you want to carry your whole collection around with you... 3GB is a lot until you start to really use the device, and then it's not enough.

Re:Good Next Step (2, Informative)

Sponge Bath (413667) | more than 5 years ago | (#27848233)

Kind of hard to support when there's no mouse or touch screen.

According to the user's manual, the Kindle DX has a table of contents navigation feature that is usable with their proprietary format. Some PDFs have a table of contents information, displayed as you said in the bookmark pane of a PC based reader. The manual states that the TOC menu item is grayed out (disabled) for PDFs.

So the TOC navigation tools are there, they just don't allow them to be used with PDFs. For a large PDF, such as the USB spec, the TOC is very useful for navigation.

Re:Good Next Step (2, Insightful)

Hadlock (143607) | more than 5 years ago | (#27847949)

Really bad: Costs $500
 
Supposedly a subscription to the NYT or other major paper will get you a price cut, but $500 is $150 too much for a larger version of the Kindle 2, which only costs $190 to build. The rebate ought to be $200 or more otherwise there's no savings over the print version (with the 6" kindle there's a savings of about $130 at current subscription rates). The fact that they're only offering the (so far not officially announced) discount in areas that don't already offer delivery of the NYT in print form is more depressing.
 
I had my fingers crossed for this, but damnit Amazon, offer this at a price I'm willing to pay. The 6" model is just too damn small for serious reading.

Re:Good Next Step (1)

MindStalker (22827) | more than 5 years ago | (#27847983)

As I've stated the build cost might be $190 but that doesn't account for the mobile broadband they provide you for free.

Before the FUD creeps in again: (5, Informative)

aussersterne (212916) | more than 5 years ago | (#27847457)

1. Yes, you can read non-DRM eBooks on Kindle in several formats, includint text and PDF
2. No, your Kindle does not die if you close your Amazon account
3. No, Amazon does not remotely kill your Kindle if this happens
4. And all of your books (including DRM) remain readable if this happens
5. And Kindle DOES have a USB port so you CAN copy files to and from it
6. And this USB port DOES work just like a flash drive so it's not Windows-only

Re:Before the FUD creeps in again: (0)

melikamp (631205) | more than 5 years ago | (#27847683)

Can we turn off updates? Can Amazon remotely kill Kindle? If yes, why? What is the utility in that for a user? Why do we have to pay almost $500 to get a Linux-based (!) platform without root access, with Amazon having as much access as they want over the net?

I cannot find any info about hacking Kindle, so I am making assumptions. Correct me if I am wrong.

If you are that paranoid, (3, Informative)

aussersterne (212916) | more than 5 years ago | (#27847919)

there is a switch that you can use to turn wireless off. And it's clear that it actually does so, as turning the switch of extends battery life by a massive margin.

No wireless, no connection to Amazon.

You can still get your books, even the DRM ones, just buy them on Amazon, download them, and copy them over with USB.

We pay almost $500 for the ability to read ebooks using this device's user interface. If another make duplicates it or someone comes up with an open platform that does exactly the same things in the same way with a similar industrial design, I'll be happy to buy it.

If you don't need ebooks read on e-ink using the Kindle's interface, I don't know why you'd pay $500 for such a Linux platform.

Re:Before the FUD creeps in again: (1)

MindStalker (22827) | more than 5 years ago | (#27847943)

"Why do we have to pay almost $500 to get a Linux-based (!) platform without root access"

Because they give you free mobile broadband access, but the kindle isn't fast enough and won't download videos or other large files so its safe to provide you this. If they gave you root you could and would tether it and whomever they are contracting with to provide the unlimited broadband would shut it down.

Re:Before the FUD creeps in again: (1)

SnarfQuest (469614) | more than 5 years ago | (#27847971)

Can we turn off updates?

Yes. just turn off the wireless service.

Can Amazon remotely kill Kindle?

No

If yes, why? What is the utility in that for a user? Why do we have to pay almost $500 to get a Linux-based (!) platform without root access, with Amazon having as much access as they want over the net?

Since these features don't exist, why comment...

I cannot find any info about hacking Kindle, so I am making assumptions. Correct me if I am wrong.

You're wrong.

So, you don't know what you're talking about, but make extremely anti-* comments bassed on such knowledge. Definately a slashdot poster.

Re:Before the FUD creeps in again: (2, Interesting)

Vadim Grinshpun (31) | more than 5 years ago | (#27848183)

you are wrong :)
See http://igorsk.blogspot.com/ [blogspot.com]

Igorsk is one who's done some great work on both the Sony Reader and Kindle.
At the very least, his work allows Cyrillic books to be read, which is not supported natively. Not sure if there are other applications.

Re:Before the FUD creeps in again: (1)

EvilToiletPaper (1226390) | more than 5 years ago | (#27848521)

I think the price is for the e-ink technology, I saw someone reading an older 6" kindle a few days ago and the picture quality looks just like paper, no strain on the eyes.

Give it like a month after release, I'm sure some hackers will break it open and port an open linux kernel to it :)

Re:Before the FUD creeps in again: (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#27847827)

Wrong. #2 and #3 have already happened. #4 remains to be seen.

Um, no. (1)

aussersterne (212916) | more than 5 years ago | (#27847935)

See what I mean? FUD. You obviously read the Slashdot story that was completely false in its accusations, as many posters to the story said, and were modded up for it.

What Amazon CAN do is prevent you from re-downloading any of the books once your account is closed, from their website or from the whispernet service. The Kindle continues to work fine, and your books ON the Kindle continue to work fine.

FUD. And people talking out their A$$ with no idea what they're talking about.

Re:Before the FUD creeps in again: (1)

s0lar (217978) | more than 5 years ago | (#27847979)

But what about non-English texts?

I had asked Amazon and they don't support Russian with their existing Kindle 2 product. There is a half-assed workaround - Russian .txt titles can be converted into a .pdf made out off vector-based letter shapes. Naturally, that blows the file size up and requires processing on your PC. More to the point, Chinese texts would need a new conversion app...

So, what's the story with the new product? Can it handle Unicode?

True and interesting. (2, Interesting)

aussersterne (212916) | more than 5 years ago | (#27848043)

That is indeed a good question. I know that my wife doesn't get mileage out of the Kindle like I do because she has a vast library in Polish, which Kindle doesn't support.

I'd love to see them do something more international-friendly in a standards-compliant way.

Re:Before the FUD creeps in again: (1)

IronChef (164482) | more than 5 years ago | (#27848253)

Which kinds of files can you copy to the Kindle over USB without needing some kind of conversion process?

Any. It works like a flash drive. (1)

aussersterne (212916) | more than 5 years ago | (#27848457)

You can store what you want on it.

If you mean what kinds of files will it recognize as books and/or music, I'm only positive about MobiPocket, Amazon, and mp3 the rest need to be converted AFAIK.

But MobiPocket Creator is free and packages up Text, HTML, and PDF files easily for you.

And more to the point, I'm busy. I just use the email service. I email Amazon the text file or PDF file and a couple of seconds later it appears on my Kindle for a modest fee of $0.10.

Some people here would balk at that, clearly. For me, it's unclear why anyone would want to @#$&*% around with the USB cable at all.

All such book reads will fail until... (4, Insightful)

Nutria (679911) | more than 5 years ago | (#27847461)

they are cheap enough that people won't worry about ruining them at the beach or by dropping them onto the floor.

Re:All such book reads will fail until... (1)

Sponge Bath (413667) | more than 5 years ago | (#27847545)

The operating temp range in the user's manual says max of 95F, so the beach may be out of the question anyways.

Re:All such book reads will fail until... (1)

hurfy (735314) | more than 5 years ago | (#27848469)

So the whole retire to AZ and read a book is not going to include a Kindle eh?

Do i store it for the summer in the fridge? Even up here it can go triple digits for a week.

oh well, i have no interest in buying a book reader that costs as much as my next 100 books and comes with none of them :(

Re:All such book reads will fail until... (2, Insightful)

CastrTroy (595695) | more than 5 years ago | (#27847569)

Really. It doesn't stop people from buying $500 smartphones and $300 MP3 players. Just be careful with your stuff. Sure it's not suited for all environments, like at the beach, there are quite a few good things about such a device. So it doesn't work at the beach. I only go to the beach once a year, and spend 48 weeks out of the year (minimum) in the city.

Re:All such book reads will fail until... (1, Troll)

Nutria (679911) | more than 5 years ago | (#27847705)

It doesn't stop people from buying $500 smartphones and $300 MP3 players

But that just demonstrates the stupidity and lemming-like nature of hip, cool, trendy people.

Re:All such book reads will fail until... (2, Informative)

langelgjm (860756) | more than 5 years ago | (#27847663)

Not necessarily. The DX is not geared towards the beach-reading crowd, the size alone should tell you that. It's more business/academic oriented - i.e., people who are already carrying around an expensive laptop all the time. I think it could be a real hit with students - it's pricey, so maybe not right away, but the next closest competitor in size is the iRex, which is closer to $1000.

Re:All such book reads will fail until... (1)

Nutria (679911) | more than 5 years ago | (#27847753)

It's more business/academic oriented

But that just narrows the market size by 90%, which doesn't seem very bright.

Re:All such book reads will fail until... (1)

langelgjm (860756) | more than 5 years ago | (#27847837)

I think you underestimate the potential size of the business market.

Also, another thing to remember is that while college students are "poor", the little money they do have is typically disposable income.

But yes, obviously e-readers would take off if they were more like the PADD [memory-alpha.org] technology from Star Trek - cheap enough to leave lying around, give to someone else, etc.

Re:All such book reads will fail until... (1)

elventear (868128) | more than 5 years ago | (#27848151)

The device is almost $500. It's the margins they are after, not the bulk sale. It's Apple style marketing ... And I would completely understand if this becomes a success.

Re:All such book reads will fail until... (1)

nine-times (778537) | more than 5 years ago | (#27847689)

Well, cheap enough that people don't have to worry when they need to be replaced, or else durable enough that people don't have to worry about them needing to be replaced. Really either one will do.

Re:All such book reads will fail until... (1)

abigor (540274) | more than 5 years ago | (#27847725)

The smaller Kindles have been a roaring success, and this new one doesn't look to be any different. I agree though, it would be great if you could pour a glass of milk on it, drop it in the sand, and then rinse it off under the tap so it's good as new.

I really like the newspaper subscription feature...if they worked out something with The Economist, then I might have to shoot the lock off the wallet.

Re:All such book reads will fail until... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#27847773)

OLPC?

Re:All such book reads will fail until... (1)

grumbel (592662) | more than 5 years ago | (#27847779)

iPhones, PDAs, Laptops and all that other stuff costs just as much if not more so and yet people carry them around all the time. As long as the devices are not super fragile, there really isn't that much to worry about, after all a book doesn't react all that good either when dipped into water.

Re:All such book reads will fail until... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#27848169)

and yet you can also read books and so much more on iPhones, PDAs and Laptops

Collateral Beer Damage? (1)

PolygamousRanchKid (1290638) | more than 5 years ago | (#27847843)

Being that these are aimed at college students, I think that the ability to survive beer exposure would be a more important concern.

Whether spilled from your own beer bottle, or if your roommate hurls on it after drinking too much.

Re:All such book reads will fail until... (1)

flogger (524072) | more than 5 years ago | (#27848399)

Personal anecdote:
I have loaned my Kindle 2 to students (High school) I know it has been dropped and probably abused and smashed in backpacks. I have dropped it twice from about 1 meter each time. It still works like a champ. The Kindle 2 is sturdy.

I take it to the beach and even out and read when I get stuck on the golf course while it rains. In wet/windy/sandy environments, I just put the kindle in a clear, ziplock-type baggie, and it is easy to read and protected from the elements.

I don't think too many people worry about dropping it or taking it to the beach.

$500 to read books you have to buy (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#27847475)

The library has them for free. And you have no "I like a dead tree copy" argument.

Textbooks (1)

wjousts (1529427) | more than 5 years ago | (#27847477)

I bet textbook publishers are all over this. No more reselling your books at the end of the semester and no more picking up cheap second-hand books (for the Kindle) next year.

Significant advantages to students: (3, Insightful)

aussersterne (212916) | more than 5 years ago | (#27847499)

1. Searchable (wooohoo!)
2. Carry one thin device, not 20lbs of books

Those alone might have caused me to buy it as an undergrad.

Re:Significant advantages to students: (1)

wjousts (1529427) | more than 5 years ago | (#27847649)

Most textbooks are searchable, it's called the index. You'll find it at the back of the book. Also a disadvantage of the Kindle is that's it currently black and white. That's a major restriction for textbooks in some fields where multicolored diagrams and graphs are important. Not to mention the $400 price tag.

I'm not saying there aren't some advantages for some students (with money) in some fields, but if you think publishers did this for the students, I think you are naive.

Re:Significant advantages to students: (2, Interesting)

aussersterne (212916) | more than 5 years ago | (#27847741)

No, I don't think "publishers did it for the students."

That is not the same, however, as saying "students might want it."

If you think "the index" is the same as "the search button," you haven't used either recently. The index names a few headwords chosen by editors and an indexer. 95% of the other words in a book don't turn up in it. It references the most critical pages, not necessarily all pages that refer to the headword in question. It typically omits statistics, names and organizations, and sources, which you often don't get in a textbook in easily reference form since most undergrad textbooks include no footnotes or endnotes.

Search is HUGE for a studying undergrad, especially during junior and sophomore years when the exams are getting harder and knowing the books inside and out more critical.

Perhaps this is not the case in computer science or mathematics, but anywhere across the arts, humanities, social sciences, history, area studies, management and policy, etc., it will be more than a boon.

I used my little Kindle 1.0 to study for a comprehensive Ph.D. written examination for just that reason; I accumulated 20-30 reference works and then could search for names and critical phrases across the entire contents of my kindle and save those search results for easy recall.

And the way that Kindle saves the search results, it aggregates the surrounding sentences into lists:

Result 1: From Book Title: Surrounding context and keywords here.

Result 2: From Book Title: Surrounding context and keywords here.

etc.

And you can click on each one if you want more. The end result was that I could study using just my "saved searches" referencing dozens of books at once, without having to flip through them endlessly and stick paperclips and post-it notes in each volume on "important pages."

The massive juxtaposition of directly relevant paragraphs as "you created 'em" pages that were directly on point for me was amazing.

I was the only person in some years to pass with honors, after several faculty and other students had made fun of me for studying on my Kindle.

Re:Significant advantages to students: (1)

j_166 (1178463) | more than 5 years ago | (#27848527)

Not to mention, the best index in the world still won't make your highlights and annotations searchable like they are in the Kindle.

Re:Significant advantages to students: (1)

PolygamousRanchKid (1290638) | more than 5 years ago | (#27847737)

I like to mark important stuff with a highlighter, and stick Post-it bookmarks on important pages and sections. Does the Kindle support that?

Re:Significant advantages to students: (1)

aussersterne (212916) | more than 5 years ago | (#27847761)

See my comment immediately above.

And yes, it actually does.

You can quickly highlight text, and you can "fold down the corners" on important pages.

Re:Significant advantages to students: (2, Informative)

aussersterne (212916) | more than 5 years ago | (#27847777)

And, I should also add, there is an INDEX of the things that YOU have highlighted, browseable as a list and clickable so that you can go to that page and see your highlight in context.

Try to do THAT with a traditional book.

Re:Significant advantages to students: (1)

tphb (181551) | more than 5 years ago | (#27847795)

I like to mark important stuff with a highlighter, and stick Post-it bookmarks on important pages and sections. Does the Kindle support that?

Yes, it does. Not actual highlighting and notes, of course, but you can highlight and add notes using the keyboard. And unlike your Post-It's, they are saved permanently.

Re:Significant advantages to students: (2, Interesting)

Overzeetop (214511) | more than 5 years ago | (#27847917)

You must not be in a professional field. We keep our books as references, often for out entire careers. I still use two or three of my texts - from 20 years ago - on a weekly basis (okay, maybe monthly). It's hard to loan your kindle to someone to look something up, but very easy to do so with a single textbook.

Kindle is an entertainment device, not a business one (not yet, at least). And I'm okay saying that a lot of non-technical (and some technical) classes in College are merely entertainment.

I'm a sociologist (1)

aussersterne (212916) | more than 5 years ago | (#27848105)

and college professor. For what it's worth.

I'm just waiting for the day when the classic works (say, Economy and Society by Weber) are on Kindle, in addition to "current" publications and "reference" volumes.

The point isn't newspapers or magazines. (1)

wiredog (43288) | more than 5 years ago | (#27847495)

It's the partnerships with Arizona State University, Case Western Reserve University, Princeton University, Reed College, and the University of Virginia. Textbooks on the Kindle. If the prices are substantially lower than the printed books, and if resale is allowed (or the prices are lower than new - used) then it's a win for students.

The newspapers only being available outside the dead tree delivery area is stupid. Christ, the WaPo, NYT, and others would save money if they delivered electronically rather than on dead tree. I wonder if the Teamsters had something to do with the decision?

Re:The point isn't newspapers or magazines. (4, Insightful)

CRCulver (715279) | more than 5 years ago | (#27847535)

Resale is never going to be allowed. The only reason textbook publishers would sign on to digital technologies is if it would kill the resale market.

Re:The point isn't newspapers or magazines. (1)

Maximum Prophet (716608) | more than 5 years ago | (#27847847)

Professor and student generated content is more valuable than textbooks anyway. I received A's in classes where I didn't open or didn't even buy the textbook.

Advantages to publishers:
  • No need to preprint, so you never over or under print.
  • Sell directly to the student w/o giving the middle man a cut.

Disadvantages:

  • Too easy for students to cut you out, by creating and sharing their own information. (Has Calculus 101 changed in the last 100 years?)
  • It's new, and therefore scary.

Re:The point isn't newspapers or magazines. (1)

maxume (22995) | more than 5 years ago | (#27847961)

It stinks a little that they are manipulating things, but they have a pretty short time window left before they get steam rolled by open content (I would still describe 20 years as short, I don't think the precise time frame is a particularly interesting discussion).

For open content, eliminating printing costs is huge. The current availability and quality of open content isn't always great, and the attractiveness of this thing at $500 is a bit dubious, but both of those things are pretty much only going to get better, and they reinforce each other.

Re:The point isn't newspapers or magazines. (1)

DragonWriter (970822) | more than 5 years ago | (#27847815)

The newspapers only being available outside the dead tree delivery area is stupid. Christ, the WaPo, NYT, and others would save money if they delivered electronically rather than on dead tree.

Probably would, but why compete with yourself. If Kindle DX delivery seems to work well, expect the "home delivery area" for participating newspapers to shrink and eventually disappear entirely, but subsidizing DX sales in their existing home delivery area would further weaken the viability of home delivery (which relies on having lots of readers in an area for viability), and might make it impossible to maintain. So the newspapers choose to let the medium prove itself before subsidizing it where it would compete with their existing home delivery system.

Re:The point isn't newspapers or magazines. (1)

digitalgiblet (530309) | more than 5 years ago | (#27847903)

The newspaper restriction is only to get them to subsidize the purchase price. You can subscribe to the papers now via Kindle.

Not sure if you caught that part.

I totally agree with you that it is dumb on the part of the newspapers to restrict themselves. The cost to print and deliver a paper is astronomical compared to electronic delivery.

I'll buy 10 of them (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#27847585)

I'll buy 10 of them if, and only if, Jeff Bezos is banned from laughing in public. [youtube.com]

Not a fan of kindle (1)

jollyreaper (513215) | more than 5 years ago | (#27847805)

Too expensive, too restrictive. But I'm still a booster. The more these things sell, the cheaper the tech will get and eventually we'll have cheap, open architecture tablet PC's like this. Previous tablets were ridiculous, basically laptops with spinning drives and fans that you certainly weren't going to carry like a clipboard. The format represented by the Kindle is great. I just want to see it stripped of all the cruft that makes it suck. The more popular it gets, the more likely that will be. The mp3 player I'm quite happy with likely wouldn't have come about if not for the ridiculous success of the ipods, expensive restrictive devices I never wanted but which paved the way for better things.

If you can't get delivery of those major papers (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#27847811)

are you really going to get 3G coverage to download them to your Kindle?

$500, seriously? (1)

Jestrzcap (46989) | more than 5 years ago | (#27847833)

a) I've used Kindle for the iPhone and gotten through 2 books so far (normally I do audiobooks) and I was fairly happy with the experience.
b) The idea of having newspapers and magazines delivered wirelessly to me podcast style is very appealing. Something along the lines of RSS would be really attractive (currently you can subscribe to slashdot "kindle edition" among others for $2 a month).
c) $500 is about 3-4x as much as I would be willing to spend on a device that as specialized as this. Especially given the content costs.

Re:$500, seriously? (1)

tirerim (1108567) | more than 5 years ago | (#27848193)

Keep in mind that you can also use it to browse the web, from anywhere. It's a limited browser, but that still gets you Wikipedia, for example, and a lot of other useful stuff, all of which is free.

Re: (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#27847911)

And now for the real question everyone is asking:

Can you get porn on it?

As a mathematician ... (5, Insightful)

IntelliTubbie (29947) | more than 5 years ago | (#27847947)

... I *really* hope that this is finally the device I've been holding out for. I have hundreds of papers in PDF format, most produced using LaTeX, downloaded from the arXiv or elsewhere -- but because it's too much of a pain to read on-screen, I end up printing out several papers a week (dozens or hundreds of pages) just to read and then throw away. Stacks of printouts are gathering chalk dust on my desk, because I need to refer to them frequently, and don't want to print out a fresh copy every time I want to do that. People who complain that this device doesn't have a full-color touchscreen with video capabilities are missing the point: this is meant to replace your printer, not your computer.

Also, while I'm not a fan of DRM, it still beats the heck out of the "edition wars" in textbook publishing. Because used book sales hurt the market for new books, publishers charge an extortionate amount of money for new textbooks and constantly release new editions (sometimes with trivial changes, like rearranged exercises) to depreciate the value of used books. All else being equal, I'd rather see $40 electronic textbooks that can't be sold back, rather than $200 hardcover monstrosities that get "revised" every other year. (Of course, while this may be the lesser evil, it's still an evil -- I'd much rather assign a book that's freely available, or available in a cheap Dover paperback edition, than do either of these -- so don't flame me, please!)

Cheers,
IT

Same here, (1)

aussersterne (212916) | more than 5 years ago | (#27848009)

I have file cabinets full of journal papers printed out and paperclipped and driving me nuts when I need to find something.

This would make my life exactly 241.3 times easier.

One wish/hope: that it's got a faster implementation/hardware than the Kindle 1.0 that I have. I'd really love to be able to search/browse/flip through paper PDFs as fast as I can click, rather than just at "reading speed."

Re:As a mathematician ... (1)

maynard (3337) | more than 5 years ago | (#27848365)

It's not. The iRex DR1000SW is the only device that would meet your needs right now. And it's significantly more expensive, manufactured by an almost fly-by-night outfit to rather poor tolerances, and the software sucks. But, it does real pen input for annotations, allowing you to save and merge math and non alphanumeric characters in your PDFs.

I'd wait for a device from Sony or Apple and pray for good pen input.

Annotating math with that keyboard strikes me as ... less fun than banging my head against a brick wall. But that's just me.

I need color, dammit (2)

Jay Maynard (54798) | more than 5 years ago | (#27848155)

If the Kindle DX had a color display, I'd have ordered one already as a paperless cockpit solution for my airplane. I need to see charts in color. Yes, I know that a big part of the charm of the Kindle is the e-ink display, which enables long battery life...but I'll give some part of that up to get color. I really don't want to spend a couple of kilobucks on a tablet PC.

Re:I need color, dammit (1)

Nyeerrmm (940927) | more than 5 years ago | (#27848395)

I'd guess that the supposedly upcoming Apple Tablet (Mega-iPhone?) is probably more in line with what you need. I think Amazon is pretty devoted to the e-Ink side, and it'll still be a few years until color is ready there, from everything I've read.

If Amazon... (1)

$1uck (710826) | more than 5 years ago | (#27848207)

Would give me free e-book versions of the dead tree books I already purchased through amazon, it would be a done deal. I'd buy one today. Hell, I'd be willing to tear the covers off each book I bought and send it in to them to prove I haven't/won't resell them.

Swing and a miss... (1)

rAiNsT0rm (877553) | more than 5 years ago | (#27848219)

I was totally ready to pre-order one, until that price showed up on Amazon. Seriously, $489?? Wallet was put firmly back in the pocket.

I was willing to forgive the greyscale only issue, but I know the natural evolution will require color. Many textbooks and even newspapers fail without color to distinguish things. I was willing to sign up for a $10-15/month subscription to something like the Times to get one for say $200... I am not about to spend almost $500 up front to then have to pay $10-15 for every subscription and $10 per book.

The pricing model is just screwed up right now, I have a feeling it will get sorted out in short order or it will get killed swiftly by the first solid tablet... even if it is from Apple. My money would go to a multipurpose tablet for around $500 easily, not for a black & white ebook reader.

Re:Swing and a miss... (1)

Knara (9377) | more than 5 years ago | (#27848381)

Wut?

The Kindle 2 is ~$350 and the Kindle DX is larger and about $100 more. Not sure exactly what you were expecting in terms of price.

PDFs Are A Problem, Not A Solution (1)

meehawl (73285) | more than 5 years ago | (#27848289)

A PDF Reader is a benefit?

Well, I suppose. In the same way that an amputation is a benefit against gangrene.

PDFs bork almost all of the advantages of ereaders. You can't choose your own typeface, size, kerning, or leading. You can't reflow as desired. You are locked into whatever "page size" the original author decided for you. For anything other than printing onto standard paper sizes, PDFs are a loss.

Still not for sale in Canada (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#27848317)

Fuck you, Amazon.

1200x824 (1)

EdZ (755139) | more than 5 years ago | (#27848491)

An ebook reader with a reasonable resolution, at an almost affordable price? Sold! Or it would be, if Amazon would deign to offer it to the world that exists outside of the US.

Not bad. (1)

Steauengeglase (512315) | more than 5 years ago | (#27848499)

Hrm, my Boss' wife just received the previous model for her birthday (just received as in about 20 minutes ago). I helped her through the registration, getting a few books that she was interested in and tinkered around the menus. I'll have to say, this is a product that I really didn't think anything of, but after a few minutes I actually managed to warm up to it. Kind of reminds me of Steam, a commercial (DRM'd) product that doesn't seem to have the express goal of screwing the consumer and conquering every possible market. Apple, MS and a host of others have a thing or two to learn from Amazon.

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