Report: Bigger Amazon Kindle May Debut This Week

 
 
By Nathan Eddy  |  Posted 2009-05-04
 
 
 

As news of the potential shuttering of the Boston Globe within 60 days rattles the newspaper industry, The New York Times (which owns the Globe) reports a larger-screen version of Amazon's Kindle e-reader, formatted for larger print publications like newspapers or magazines, may be on the market as early as this week.

The Times report suggests the device would be of great interest to print media publications, including The Times, although Amazon and New York Times refused to comment for the article. "These devices from Amazon and other manufacturers offer an almost irresistible proposition to newspaper and magazine industries," wrote Times reporter Brad Stone. "They would allow publishers to save millions on the cost of printing and distributing their publications, at precisely a time when their businesses are under historic levels of pressure."

In March, the Seattle Post-Intelligencer and the Rocky Mountain News announced they would no longer publish articles in print, and newspapers across the country-and around the world-are experiencing mounting losses in their print divisions. The Times reported a 27 percent plunge in advertising revenue in April, with revenue for the Q1 2009 period dropping 19 percent to $609 million.

John Ridding, the chief executive British newspaper The Financial Times, told The Times moving to larger screen e-reading devices is something they are seriously considering. "The severe double whammy of the recession and the structural shift to the Internet has created an urgency that has rightly focused attention on these devices."

The $359 Kindle2, Amazon's latest version of its e-book reader, uses an electronic paper display and downloads content over Amazon's Whispernet network. In March, the company launched an application, Kindle for iPhone, which allows owners of the smartphone to access Kindle content on their phones.

Amazon is not the only player in the e-reading market, however. Plastic Logic, headquartered in Cambridge, United Kingdom, announced its device, simply called the Reader, will come to market in two-phased entry that will begin in the second half of 2009 with pilots and trials with key partners.  Plastic Logic said they expect to accelerate the momentum of sales in 2010. The Sony Reader, which uses an electronic paper display developed by Cambridge, Mass.-based E Ink Corporation, offers a six-inch screen and uses similar wireless downloading technology.

The increased competition that could challenge Amazon's dominance of the e-reader market has resulted in Amazon reaching out to newspapers and solidifying its grip on popular devices like Apple's iPhone; in late April Amazon acquired the startup called Lexcycle, which had developed an application named Stanza that allowed Apple iPhone and iPod touch owners to use the devices like an electronic book reader.

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