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Surprising Science

Small Thinking Product: The Kindle DX

Last week Amazon released their new electronic reader, the Kindle DX. With a larger screen and a price tag $130 more than its predecessor, the Kindle DX is positioned to be the new standard for reading text. If only that were true.

The original Kindle concept was a hit. As recently announced by Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos, Kindle sales are now 35% of book sales when Kindle editions are available. This is up from 13% in February 2009, just before the second version of the Kindle went on sale. 

But despite its ranking as Amazon’s second best-selling gadget, the Kindle DX is unlikely to take off the way Amazon hopes. If we consider its core use, we’ll notice the bigger and badder e-reader faces some stiff competition.

Consider all the hardware complementary with the Kindle. Fully-loaded mini-laptops are available for $200 less than the Kindle DX. If textbook publishers developed interactive learning software, why would students ever use a static, oversized reader?

Secondly, when it comes to media,  many readers are already accustomed to getting their news from devices like iPhones. We can agree that reading from a miniature LCD can be hard on the eyes, and the Kindle is a terrific solution to this problem. But does it really need to be the size of a glossy? I thought that was the model we were trying to avoid.

All in all, kudos to Amazon for taking the next step with the Kindle and branching out to a new market opportunity. They just may have wanted to exercise a bit more foresight. 


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