Is the new Kindle aimed at the textbook market?

Amazon's press conference isn't until tomorrow, but that hasn't stopped Engadget from digging up some information on what we've been calling the Kindle 3 e-reader. If Engadget's source is accurate, the new unit will actually be called the Kindle DX, and it'll have a 9.7 inch display.

Yesterday there was a lot of speculation around the web that this new Kindle was an attempt to save newspapers, but the Wall Street Journal says a Kindle aimed at delivering text books is coming, and that a pilot program will take place at Case Western Reserve University in Cleveland this fall. Select students will be issued a Kindle pre-loaded with text books, and their experience will be compared with that of students using traditional text books. The WSJ decsribes the Kindle being used at Case as a large-screen Kindle with an improved (over the current Kindle's) web browser. The WSJ doesn't mention tomorrow's press conference, so there's some small chance that we're looking at two different Kindles, but that doesn't seem likely.

Granted its been a while since I've had to worry about buying textbooks, but I can't imagine paper has gotten cheaper or lighter since I was in school. The idea of electronic versions of textbooks makes sense in so many ways: lighter, searchable (including being able to search your notes), more environmentally friendly. If I was going to be at Case this fall I'd be crossing my fingers and hoping that I was one of the student picked to try out this program. I'm surprised the textbook publishers are on-board, though. Maybe they're will to give up some control in exchange for putting the used textbook market out of business?

And what about the newspapers? Would a bigger screen make you more apt to subscribe to a daily newspaper on a Kindle? That doesn't seem like enough of a change to me, but maybe Amazon still has some cards up its sleeves. Only one more day until we find out.

In the meantime, what would it take to get you to pay for a newspaper subscription that was delivered to a Kindle?

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