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Summary:

Amazon is enjoying what are touted to be good sales of the Kindle 2, and the rumor mill is going full speed that a new, larger Kindle is to be announced this week. The buzz surrounds a deal that Amazon has supposedly inked with The New […]

kindle-2Amazon is enjoying what are touted to be good sales of the Kindle 2, and the rumor mill is going full speed that a new, larger Kindle is to be announced this week. The buzz surrounds a deal that Amazon has supposedly inked with The New York Times to provide a Kindle with a large screen for viewing periodicals like newspapers. I am afraid they may run into some harsh realities if they release such a beast.

The rumor was sparked by an invitation that some journalists have received for a press event:

We’d like to invite you to an Amazon.com press conference scheduled for Wednesday, May 6 at 10:30 am ET. The press conference is scheduled to take place at the Michael Schimmel Center for the Arts at Pace University, located at 3 Spruce Street, New York City. Doors will open for registration at 9:30 am ET.

This has desperation written all over it. A large Kindle is not going to stop the death-spiral that newspapers are firmly in the grasp of, no matter how cool. Who is going to carry such a large Kindle around with them? No one, and that’s a big hurdle to overcome. Couple that with the cost such a device would require, and it’s game over before the starting buzzer. The littler Kindle costs over $300; this one would possibly have to run a good $500, and who’s going to pay that to read their favorite newspaper they are already reading free online?

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    1. ah, is that the new Kindle?

  1. orbitalcomp Monday, May 4, 2009

    Who says a larger Kindle would have to be $500?

    Maybe this is when we finally get a subsidized reader…say $149 with the purchase of certain subscriptions? I would buy a Kindle today if it could display a full newspaper correctly, including pics and layout.

    Reading a newpaper or magazine on the current readers is no better than reading an RSS feed on the computer…

    1. I completely agree.

      Moreover and with all due respect, I think James is coming from a consumer perspective. There is a business market that would kill to tote their large documents on an e-Reader in addition to news content, but the smaller size is just not practical.

      Amazon is not the only e-Reader manufacturer that is tuned into this. It’s not all about books and newspapers. It’s about the enormity of electronic reading.

  2. You’re right, James, what they should be doing is

    A) finding a way to come out with a less expensive Kindle, not a more expensive one and

    B) making the existing one better..

    Just my 2¢… ;-)

  3. Stephen Feger Monday, May 4, 2009

    The thing that I am most surprised by when I read all the commentary on this device is the *extreme* negativity on this device. I have to admit it catches me by surprise. Normally gadgets gets everyone’s imagination going. But not this time.

    Instead of wondering what it would be like, what kind of interesting scenarios it could play into. Maybe the oh-so-typical guessing game of features. But no, it’s all “it will be too expensive” “It won’t save them (insert big publishing name here)”.

    It’s not just jkOnTheRun either. Everyone seems to have this attitude on this device.

    I don’t know, maybe it will be a dud. But boy, count me as a skeptic of the skeptics.

  4. James, I agree that charging more for a newspaper-oriented Kindle would be a mistake. However, I would be really surprised if that was the case. Newspaper execs may be a bunch of idiots, but Bezos is a smart guy. I really doubt he would greenlight a more expensive Kindle for what by all accounts is a dying industry. While its base price will definitely be higher, I think paid subscribers can expect a subsidized price for a newspaper-oriented Kindle. Furthermore, if this report from Silicon Alley Insider can be trusted, the major newspapers should be giving Kindles away for free.

  5. How about touch like one Fuji has. I don’t care much for color just now…

  6. James, I don’t share your negative opinion on this product. Amazon will probably offer it for a subsidized price to reduce the up front costs; also, this will be the perfect device for students willing to save on textbooks.

  7. Chris Davies Monday, May 4, 2009

    Everyone is looking at newspapers, but textbooks strike me as being a bigger market. Look at how much your average college or uni student spends each term on textbooks; Amazon are already raking it in through their paper-copy sales (and, quite probably, making a healthy amount creaming the top off of Marketplace sales), why not do the same with electronic versions?

    It also puts the recent wireless document conversion price-rise into context (from $0.10 flat, to per-MB) – students will be more likely to load large files, papers, documents, lab-books etc. than your average reader.

  8. From a guy that admits to having carried around a 30 pound “mobile” computer that’s a pretty strong statement.

    From the tear downs of the Kindle 2 we know Amazon was thinking about adding a Personal Area Network technology but chickened out.

    If they made a letter sized device with Bluetooth 3.0 and supported printing-to-it technology the device could have some serious legs.

    Instead of hand/pocket carrying it, I expect people would have over the shoulder portfolio cases to transport the device in.

    It would be far more portable than a 30 pound Compaq.

    1. James Kendrick Scotty Monday, May 4, 2009

      We geeky types always seem to have a bag with us so yes, we could throw this into our bag. “Regular” people I interact with don’t carry a bag however. The most they are willing to carry around with them is a paperback book, and only if it’s a good one they can’t put down. That’s the crowd that newspapers have to reach to find salvation and they are not the folks to carry a big slate around with them. That’s just my opinion, of course.

  9. James Kendrick Monday, May 4, 2009

    Re: the subsidy issue. It’s possible but Amazon doesn’t subsidize the Kindle 2 so why would they subsidize this one? That leaves the publications themselves, in this case the NYT to provide the subsidy or the “free” one as alluded to. Will anyone be willing to maintain a subscription to a given publication forever to keep that cheap device? We rail against the phone carriers for contracts, this is no different.

    And if you cancel your contract for the publication what would happen to the device? Not as straightforward as it appears on the surface.

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