Jeff Bezos took the stage at the second Kindle press conference not to quickly introduce the anticipated big screen version of Amazon’s e-reader device, but also to talk about the past two months. Since Kindle 2 was announced, Amazon (NSDQ: AMZN) has added another 45,000 e-books in the past three months to 275,000 in total. He added that Kindle titles now make up a 35 percent share of its total book sales, rising from 13 months since February. Bezos also offers some prosaic reasons why Kindle has been a “success.” For example, “Why are people buying electronic books?” Because, “We have books that people want to read.”
– The big pitch: But when it comes to actual reading, paper still trumps than computers, Bezos said, which is why people print so much. And while Kindle 2 is better than looking at a backlit computer screen, it has not been able to match the actual experience people have when reading a business document, whose standard size of 8 1/2 by 11 inches is bigger than Kindle 2’s display. Bezos: “Even with electronic paper, you need a big display. Ladies and gentleman, we’ve decided to introduce Kindle DX, it’s 2 1/2 times the Kindle 2’s display. You never have to pan, zoom, or scroll. You just read the documents.”
– Back to school: Bezos then goes on to show how photos and displays look much richer, especially when it comes textbooks, an area that has not been as appealing on the text-centric Kindle 2. In conjunction with the release of Kindle DX, Amazon has struck agreements with three major textbook companies — Pearson (NYSE: PSO), Wiley and Cengage Learning — which represents 60 percent of the market. The publishers, who have been reluctant to offer their graphic-heavy school books on the text-centric Kindle 2, are going to watch this experiment closely. Also, six universities will pilot Kindle DX programs this fall. The Kindle DX page is now live, here. Some more details, including the newspaper subscription agreement, after the jump.
– The details: Kindle DX boasts a 9.7 inch screen, 3.3 GB storage for 3,500 books. It will ship this summer for a $489 price tag. By comparison, Kindle 2’s price remains $359. (For a visual comparison between the two devices, see photo on the right)
– What about newspapers?: Aside from highlighting personal documents and textbooks, three newspapers will offer reduced price in exchange for “long-term commitments”: NYT, WaPo and Boston Globe. NYTCo (NYSE: NYT) Publisher Arthur Sulzberger is taking the stage now. Sulzberger: “We have always known the dream of electronic reader would become a reality. With each edition of the Kindle, we’ve gotten closer. The Kindle DX is an important milestone. NYT and Boston Globe will offer our Kindle subscriptions to people who can’t get it at home.”