Amazon (AMZN) CEO Jeff Bezos unveiled a big-screen Kindle in New York this morning.
As expected, it’s designed for reading books, textbooks, documents, and newspapers. It’ll ship this summer for $489, and the New York Times Company (NYT) will subsidise it if you sign up for a long-term newspaper subscription. Details forthcoming on that partnership.
Amazon also announced partnerships with three major textbook publishers, supposedly representing 60% of that market. Amazon will test the Kindle DX with five universities this year.
Bezos remained tight-lipped on how many Kindles the company has sold, but he said that when Kindle titles are available, they now represent 35% of those books’ sales. There was a huge spike when Amazon started shipping the Kindle 2 earlier this year. The company now offers 275,000 books in Kindle format.
10:26 Hi everyone! Live in the basement at Pace University, getting ready for Jeff and guests to take the stage. Refresh for LIVE updates. “Love Train” is the warmup music.
10:29 Amazon went out of their way to provide wi-fi at today’s event, but it seems to be crawling. So if we get disconnected today, you can blame Verizon Wireless!
10:32 Now they’re dipping into fast jazzy stuff for the soundtrack. People still finding their seats.
10:33 Smaller theatre than Amazon’s last presentation but stage seems bigger. Wood podium with Amazon logo on it. Projector screen has white background with Amazon logo, too.
10:35 What if this isn’t a Kindle event? What if they’re rolling out Amazon Grocery Delivery nationwide?
10:38 Amazon rep takes the stage, and here’s Jeff. Talking about the Kindle vision.
10:38 90,000 books at Kindle launch, 230,000 in Feb, now 275,000 e-books 3 months later.
10:39 Kindle sales are now 35% of book sales when Kindle editions are available. Huge jump in Feb when Kindle 2 went on sale.
10:39 Why is it working? A bunch of reasons. We have the books people want to read. Starting from head of selection and working toward the tail.
10:40 Paper-like display another reason. Doesn’t cause eye strain. Readable in bright sunlight.
10:40 Another reason, it’s 3G wireless. You don’t even have to OWN a PC. No hunting for wi-fi hotspots.
10:42 “Disappears in your hands.” Doesn’t make your hands sweat!
10:42 Carry your whole library with you. Bring all your books!
10:42 What about personal and professional documents? Today, we print them out and lug them around. Put them in briefcases and purses and backpacks. “The paperless society never came.”
10:44 Jeff making fun of printer toner, which he sells a lot of. “I always run out of cyan first.”
10:44 Most documents are 8.5×11, so too small for Kindle 2. Even with electonic paper, you need a big display.
10:45 Ladies and gentlemen, the Kindle DX. 2.5x display size. Built in PDF reader.
10:46 Auto-rotates into widescreen mode. Showing off documents, annual reports, cookbook, magazine article.
10:47 Grayscale sushi is “making me hungry.”
10:47 Especially good for textbooks. Deals with Pearson, Cengage, Wiley, three college publishers that represent 60% of higher ed. “This is such a dream to have textbooks on a device this small.”
10:48 We’re going to get students with smaller backpacks, less load, easier access.
10:49 Five Universities to pilot Kindle DX this fall. Here’s Barbara Synder, president of Case Western.
10:51 Talking up Kindles for students. Search, highlight passages, no need for wi-fi. Books are heavy!
10:52 Bezos back on stage. Personal documents, books, textbooks… what about newspapers?”
10:52 Newspapers have been an “absolute best seller” on Kindle. People “love” waking up to NYT, WaPo, WSJ “automagically” (ugh) delivered overnight.
10:53 This summer, 3 newspapers piloting Kindle DX for reduced price in exchange for long-term commitments to subscriptions. NYT, WaPo, Boston Globe will subsidise Kindles.
10:53 Here’s Pinch! Sulzberger from NYT. “Great pleasure to be here.” An important step forward in e-reader technology. We at NYT delighted to make use of Kindle DX.
10:54 Example of how NYT is using every medium for high quality journalism. Calls it an “experiment.”
10:55 Will do an even better job with combining immediacy of Web and portability and depth of newspaper.
10:56 NYT and Boston Globe will offer Kindle DX where home delivery is NOT available. (Not sure what that means.)
10:57 Name dropping. Tom Friedman? Why? Ah! “Thank you for boosting their book sales.”
10:57 Doing a quick demo. Showing off Amazon 10-K SEC filing. Now pilot’s chart. Graphics seem to look better than in some Kindle books we’ve seen. Perhaps that’s because of the source document? Sheet music!
10:59 PDF features, now that I think of it, could boost piracy. Wonder how they’re going to deal with that.
10:59 Bezos looking at “small rocket thruster” document.
11:00 Here’s Amazon’s official PR material for the Kindle DX.
11:01 Sorting out technical difficulty where demo video is backwards on screen. “I’m going to choose to find this hilarious,” Bezos says. “I’ve never seen the New York Times backwards before.” Ok, now it’s working. Or not. Video goes off. Bezos trying to troubleshoot.
11:02 Newspapers: there are multiple ways to read. I like to flip through all the articles.
11:03 Bezos hasn’t announced pricing or availability, but here it is on Amazon’s site: Available this “summer” for $489. More than double the storage. 9.7″ diagonal e-ink screen. 10.4″ x 7.2″ x 0.38″
11:05 Not only can you change font size but also change line length. Make shorter lines. (Narrower column.)
11:06 Also using Sprint’s (S) network. Also includes access to Wikipedia.
11:07 Bezos going over specs. NYT bestsellers, most new releases are $9.99. $489. (Faint whoosh sound in the room.)
In the meantime, here’s some related coverage:
- Spy Photos Of The New Big-Screen Amazon Kindle
- Amazon Testing Big-Screen Kindle With Six Universities
- Big-Screen Kindle Coming
- 10 Things We Love And Hate About Amazon’s Kindle 2