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Amazon rolls out a device to save the newpaper – two years too late

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Eric Thayer/Reuters

(Read caption) A man holds the new Kindle DX electronic reader at a news conference in New York, on May 6, 2009. The latest version of the Kindle is larger, aimed at newspapers and textbooks and carries a price tag of $489.

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The front page of Amazon.com today carries a splashy advertisement for the new Kindle DX, a next-generation digital reader first unveiled last May. The DX, which is priced at $489, has active PDF support and a screen better suited to textbooks and newspapers. The device will go on sale next week, Amazon says.

“You never have to zoom, you never have to scroll, you just read the documents,” Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos said in May, at a press conference for the DX. Amazon's newest Kindle has an expanded hard drive, which can hold upward of 3,000 texts. And like Apple's iPhone, it is equipped with motion-sensing technology: tipping the device on its side yields a horizontal display to make reading wide pages easier.

At 1/3 of an inch thick, the DX is about as thin as an issue of the Christian Science Monitor's weekly edition.

In a report released last month, Forrester Research predicted that the ebook market will grow over the next few years, expanding beyond early adopters in 2009. The “wider market of students and business consumers” won’t really catch on until 2011, the study said. But Amazon is betting that readers will use the DX for more than just ebooks.

Print is dying!

In May, the company announced it had joined forces with the New York Times, the Boston Globe, and the Washington Post to sell a bargain-priced DX to subscribers of those newspapers. And the company has partnered with five textbook publishers and 75 university presses who will make their products available on Amazon.

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