If the Kindle is good, a bigger Kindle may be even better.
So hopes Amazon founder Jeff Bezos, who announced the new Kindle DX on Wednesday. The Kindle DX, a digital reading device, is lighter than a thick fashion magazine, easier to read on than a laptop and capable of storing 3,500 books. On the Kindle DX, as on the smaller version of Kindle, readers can download daily editions of major newspapers. Bezos says that feature is already a big hit with Kindle owners.
"People love the fact that they wake up in the morning and their newspapers are already automatically downloaded onto the device while they sleep," Bezos says. "They love the fact that if they travel, the subscription travels with them. With the Kindle DX and the larger display, newspapers look even better."
And several major newspapers are preparing to test Bezos' optimism. In a pilot program, The Washington Post, The New York Times and The Boston Globe — the last two are owned by the Times Company — will subsidize the $489 cost of the Kindle DX for selected subscribers who commit to a long-term subscription.
The New York Times generates the most subscriptions, but it is estimated to be in the low tens of thousands. Neither Amazon nor The New York Times would release figures of how many electronic newspaper subscribers they have.
Newspapers are losing paying subscribers of print editions at an alarming rate, and most have notably failed at charging for content online. But Sarah Rotman Epps, an analyst with Forrester Research, says media executives hope to change that. "Newspapers see e-readers as their last best hope," Epps says.
It remains to be seen if Kindle can keep hope alive.