Amazon.com Reportedly in Kindle Talks with Universities, Publishers
A day after reports surfaced May 4 that online retail giant Amazon.com was
planning a version of its Kindle e-book reader device meant for reading larger
publications like newspapers, the Wall Street Journal reports that "people familiar
with the matter" say Amazon.com has made deals with several universities
to bring the Kindle to college campuses. The paper also reported Amazon.com has
been reaching out to large publishers, including Time Warner's Time magazine division
and The New York Times.
The university agreement concerns six universities in total, including Yale, Pace and Arizona State, the paper reported. Lev Gonick, CIO at Cleveland's Case Western Reserve University, told the Journal that students would have access to large-screen versions of the Kindle, called the Kindle DX, preloaded with textbooks for chemistry and computer science.
Pace will be the site of Amazon.com's press conference on May 6, where The New York Times' chairman and publisher, Arthur Sulzberger Jr., and the president of Case Western Reserve University, Barbara Snyder, will join Amazon.com CEO Jeff Bezos for an announcement that is widely believed to serve as a launch for the Kindle DX.
Gonick told the paper the updated Kindle would offer an "experimental" Web browser with more functionality than the current Kindle. The current model, the Kindle 2, has a 6-inch-diagonal electronic display and a lackluster Web browser. On May 4, technology blog Engadget posted cameraphone photos of what appeared to be the Kindle DX.
The DX's display will be 9.7 inches diagonally and offer features such as annotation functionality and an integrated PDF reader, according to the site. Engadget also reported that subscriptions to The New York Times would cost $9.95 per month. Amazon.com currently charges $13.99 for a subscription to the Times. In January, the Times' executive editor, Bill Keller, said the paper currently makes a "modest amount of money" selling the Kindle version of the paper to users, but not enough customers are yet paying for an online or downloadable version.
The Kindle 2 uses an electronic paper display manufactured by E Ink and downloads content over Amazon.com's Whispernet network. It carries a retail price of $359. In March, the company launched an application, Kindle for iPhone, which allows owners of the Apple smartphone to access Kindle content on their iPhones.
Amazon.com's push to expand its capacity beyond books may help it gain traction with newspaper readers. Although Amazon.com currently offers subscriptions to dozens of newspapers, subscription sales have reportedly been sluggish. Currently subscriptions to newspapers from Amazon.com cost between $5.99 and $14.99 per month, magazines cost between $1.25 and $3.49 per month, and blogs cost between $0.99 and $1.99 per month.