The $489 e-reader -- which is a bigger version of Amazon's popular Kindle 2 and was designed for periodicals, textbooks and other large-format reading -- is available exclusively through Amazon.com and looks to be off to an impressive start.
That has to be an encouraging sign for Amazon. With the with Kindle DX's hefty price tag and larger form factor, the online retailer is placing a bet that customers will want plus-size features, a 9.7-inch diagonal screen, and a sizeable library beyond what the six-inch Kindle 2 can offer. The Kindle DX has expanded 4 GB internal memory (about 3.3 GB for user content), which is more than double what the Kindle 2 can offer (2 GB internal with 1.4 GB available for user content) in terms of storage for books and documents.
The Kindle DX, or any new e-reading device, definitely faces a battle, however, with would-be Kindle killers coming out of the woodwork seemingly on a weekly basis. From Google's still-unclear e-book publishing plans to rival devices by the likes of Plastic Logic, Sony and other manufacturers, Amazon has its work cut out for it if it wants to stay atop the e-reading heap. And that's to say nothing of the many e-book and e-reading applications out there -- including Amazon's own Kindle application for Apple iPhones -- and other e-publishing services like Scribd.
The Scribd developments, especially, bear watching. The site, which bills itself as the world's largest social publishing company, recently changed its model to allow authors and copyright holders to essentially become their own publishing house, charging for digital copies of their work when sold through Scribd. Last week, reports surfaced that publisher Simon & Schuster would close a deal to offer about 5,000 titles through Scribd. O'Reilly Media and travel guide publisher Lonely Planet are also Scribd clients.
But for now, Amazon remains the e-reading device name to beat, and with the Kindle DX moving fast even at that not-exactly-recession-friendly price, any suggestions that Kindle DX would have a limited shelf life might be a little too hasty.
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