Kindle DX goes on sale at Amazon.com for $489

Early comments show interest in larger e-reader, but concerns about price

The Kindle DX started shipping from Amazon.com on Wednesday, as promised, for US$489, and could reach customers Thursday when initial owner reviews are expected to start hitting blogs and Websites.

Amazon.com began listing the larger, 9.7-in. wireless reading device as "In Stock" today on its site, with overnight shipping available.

The company also offered up several "reviews," even though none of the reviewers owns a new DX and instead simply gave reasons for ordering it. The discussions mainly focused on the larger screen as a reason for ordering the DX over the Kindle 2. Some also raised concerns about the absence of an external storage card in the DX.

One reviewer, R. Joyce, wrote about selling a first-generation Kindle to pay for a Kindle 2, and then selling the second Kindle to be able to pay for the DX. "As you can tell by now, I am a Kindle fan: this device brought me back to reading for pleasure, for which I am grateful," the Kindle fan wrote, adding that 600 books acquired for use with the devices had not used up all the internal storage.

But M. Jobay "Lucky Luke" complained that $489 is too steep a price for a student to afford: "I was going to buy the Kindle DX because I am a student and it would be much easier if I could carry the Kindle DX to school rather than my school books that sometimes could weigh over 15 pounds. ...I was hesitant due to the price. I mean, the way the economy is today, this seems like a costly investment."

One other writer was concerned that the DX has no color screen, meaning Amazon is missing out on a market for art books and cook books.

A professional review by Steven Levy on Wired.com that first appeared yesterday noted that the DX has 2.5 times more display space than the Kindle 2's 6-in. screen, but is virtually the same thickness as the Kindle 2, weighs only 19 ounces, "won't tax your wrists...[and is] very comfortable to hold."

Levy also credited the DX for including a built-in PDF reader, unlike previous Kindles. He was able to download a Google Books public domain autobiography and email it to his Kindle DX and then read the scanned pages. "The DX crisply displays monochrome output of PDF or MS Office files," he wrote.

But Levy noted that while Amazon wants to aim the DX at students needing textbooks as well as workers who need access to business documents, the textbooks are yet to arrive. Levy also noted that while DX is supposed to help with future-generation newspapers and magazines, the predicament today is that subscribers to Kindle periodicals "are stuck with a cumbersome interface that makes magazine articles readable but dull in appearance. Reading a long newspaper article on the DX can be daunting, as it appears like a dense block of text."

Levy also called the $489 price tag "the most glaring hindrance of the DX." He concluded, "the hefty price tag doesn't fit Jeff Bezo's stated philosophy of getting the best value for his customers."

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Matt Hamblen

Computerworld
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