Amazon announce their latest version of the KIndle e-book reader, the Kindle DX. There’s lots of great coverage of the launch for this latest version (check out Silicon Valley Insider for some good writeups) which features a larger screen and is optimized for newspaper, magazine and textbook reading. And yes that sound you heard was another group of traditional media outlets screaming in their death throes.
It’s ironic that Amazon’s announcement comes the same day that the New York Times announced they will be keeping the Boston Globe open but raising the cost of the print version of their flagship aper to $2.00 ($5.00 on weekends). A quick bit of math tells me that even if I only read the Times Monday to Friday, it’s worth my while to invest in a Kindle (Approximately $500 a year for the print version vs. $489 for the Kindle DX). Of course, I could also pay nothing and just read the Times online for free. The same logic holds true if I’m a college student looking to buy a year’s worth of textbooks. It might also hold true for high end academic journals or trade magazines (forget about print versions of consumer magazines, they’re practically free already).
Of course, there will be old guard purists who claim that reading a newspaper on the Kindle isn’t the same as reading a print version. But isn’t that just sentimentality? With the environmental concerns caused by the newspaper and magazine industries’ paper and fuel consumption can any reasonable person make the case for that argument anymore?
I know I’m not the first peron to argue that newspaper and magazine publishers need to realize they are in the word business not the printing and manufacturing business (as everyone from Jeff Jarvis to my buddy Jeff Simon has argued). But I do think that the Kindle DX is going to accelerate an already steep decline.
If you’re in the print media industry, what’s your strategy for distributing your content across all the new digital platforms? And how long do you think it will take for the first publications designed primarily for the Kindle to be released?