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Amazon Looks to Launch Bigger Kindle on Wednesday



plasticlogic Savior or dud? If you read the commentary this morning the rumored larger Amazon Kindle that is supposedly being announced at a NYC press conference this week will be both. Apparently Amazon has partnered up with the New York Times and will be unveiling a larger version of the Kindle tailored to deliver newspapers and periodicals over its Whispernet service. Some see it as a potential savior of the sagging newspaper industry, some see it as a dud or a ‘Hail Mary.’ We’ve been seeing talk of these larger devices for some time now. (pictured is the PlasticLogic device.)

James Kendrick makes an interesting price point comparison that I think bears noting. Given that the current Kindle costs you more than $300, this will have to be more expensive or a change in the already established Kindle price. Couple that with the fact that most of these publications are probably looking at this as a way to stem the bleeding and will charger for their content and you’re looking at an expensive proposition. Unless of course they follow the logic that giving each of their current subscribers a Kindle costs less than printing and delivering the paper. I don’t think that will happen and I think everyone is seeing dollar signs in their eyes in desperate times.

I’m not sure it will be a savior or a dud. My guess it will be somewhere in between as the evolution of this kind of dissemination of info continues. Of course if it isn’t deemed an immediate hit, that will probably be seen as a failure.  I’m pretty positive that whatever pricing structure will be unveiled will follow a similar up and down trajectory as news content on the Internet did as something like this finds its way.  Regardless of pricing, regardless of what the deal turns out to be (we’ll know how it starts in a few days) getting news on the Internet is about to change.

What’s your thinking? How much would you spend for content that is currently available for free? If that source dries up thanks to a new approach like this, how much would you spend to get that content?



  1. Kate Stone

    05/04/2009 at 7:35 am

    I get the NYTs delivered on Sunday and read it online for free all the other days of the week. I read many political blogs every day and get their free links to many news sites. I downloaded the free Kindle to my Ipod Touch and am trying out books on that. The small screen works for me. I am unwilling to pay $300 for a Kindle especially as I watch the price of their ebooks creep up. This coupled with the fact that I am an avid supporter of independent bookshops and public libraries will keep me from a Kindle. Bottom line is this: I will not buy a device at $300 plus to then subscribe to and read the NYTimes or the New Yorker. There will still be many ways to get the news for free. Demographics: white, female, 66, news junkie, lover of new technology who can wait patiently until competition is sorted out and prices drop (tracking the netbook race right now).

  2. Sumocat

    05/04/2009 at 7:48 am

    It doesn’t have to be more expensive. As you’ve already noted, giving Kindles away to subscribers would save major newspapers money vs. the cost of printing and delivering paper copies. If they set this deal up correctly, subscribers could be looking at cheap or even free Kindles (full price for the rest of us). Sure, it’s unlikely that any single newspaper could afford to fully subsidize a bigger Kindle for each subscriber, but how about a subscription to multiple papers? If they bundle subscriptions at discounts, allowing for fully subsidized Kindles, this could really work. Whether newspaper execs could be so insightful is in doubt, but I believe Jeff Bezos is smart enough to do it right.

  3. Rob Bushway

    05/04/2009 at 8:13 am

    my guess is that this will be highly subsidized and likely free. I’ll need to see the details, but I’m very interested in such a device. Something larger for textbooks for kids will be a killer, and I’m thinking that is where Amazon will make their killing.

  4. Warner Crocker

    05/04/2009 at 8:32 am

    I think you might be right in the long run, Rob, but the numbers will tell the tale in the short run. Already these devices have some subsidization (although not how we usually think) with the fact that you don’t have to buy a mobile contract. Amazon is making that back on the price of the device and book sales. If that changes and we have to have a contract with a mobile carrier, the scenario loses appeal I think. Now if the publishers want to pick up the freight, Sumo’s logic makes sense that it would take more than one to pick it up.

    All the partners have a stake in this succeeding, but I think it might be tough to loosen up today’s revenue model thinking unless Bezos has something up his sleeve, or the publishers are just too desperate.

  5. Corinne

    05/04/2009 at 9:06 am

    If it was half the price, I might consider buying it, but definitely not at it’s current price or more.

  6. Dan Meyers

    05/04/2009 at 9:53 am

    I guess I’ve been drinking the Kindle Kool-aid. I still think it’s a good deal with the free wireless access. Before recently, the rumor mill was that the larger kindle was for the student textbooks as Rob mentioned, not for newspapers.

    My two cents is the key to lower costs will be adding wi-fi so that it doesn’t always use the evdo coverage. Although it’s hard to say how much Amazon pays for evdo, but data plans on cell phones are certainly pricey.


  7. SAM

    05/05/2009 at 12:26 am

    Black and white screen for a textbooks?

    What about a small lightweight 10″ tablet pc WITHOUT a huge screen bezel?
    It will display your eBooks (in color and in what ever format you have), play your MP3’s, and surf the web and more!
    …one stop shopping

  8. mrpacs

    05/05/2009 at 2:31 pm

    FWIW: I use the free Kindle iPhone app. Sure it’s small but I have no issue reading books on my iphone & I’m 43 years old! Only downside IMO is that magazines and newspapers are NOT available on the iphone/Kindle app. :(

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