Print 33 comment(s) - last by Cypherdude1.. on May 9 at 5:27 AM

Larger screen Kindle may be coming this week

The print publishing industry is currently being hit with two very serious problems. The costs for printing and distributing print publications are soaring and at the same time, advertising revenue and subscriber rates are dropping. Some newspapers and print magazines simply won’t be able to survive in the current economy.

One of the things being watched closely and hoped to be able to save the print publishing industry are  large screen e-readers such as the Amazon Kindle 2 and others that are specifically designed to allow for reading digital versions of the print publications from newspaper and magazine publishers.

Current e-readers like the Kindle 2 have screens that are too small to effectively display large magazine and newspaper pages with the same ads and format as a print version. That will reportedly change soon. As early as this week, the New York Times reports that Amazon is said to be launching a new larger screen Kindle device specifically for newspapers and magazines.

A larger screen electronic reader is being eyed as the possible savior to the print publishing market by offering a device that gives readers familiar layouts, but sheds the costly printing and delivery costs associated with traditional print publishing. For the mass market to adopt a digital reader for these purposes screens needs to be the size of a standard sheet of paper in the publishers mind.

Amazon isn’t alone in efforts to bring larger screen e-readers to market. News Corporation and Plastic Logic are readying large screen readers specifically for digital newspapers and magazines. The NYT reports that people briefed on the subject say that the larger screen Kindle may launch as early as this week offering the ability to show larger layout newspaper, magazine and even textbook pages.

John Ridding, CEO of British newspaper The Financial Times, said, "We are looking at this [large screen e-readers] with a great deal of interest. 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 NYT says that a new breed of large screen readers will give the print publishing world a second change to rethink their strategy on digital publishing. The digital devices would allow the publisher to sell subscriptions again, something that fans of digital media are reluctant to buy. Eventually, subscribers could be given an e-reader in exchange for agreeing to a one-year subscription similar to what cellular providers do with mobile phones.

Even a larger screen Kindle will still have one major shortcoming that will prevent many users from adopting digital publications -- color. Current screen technology for e-readers is limited to black and white. To really deliver a digital magazine reading experience like you get from a print publication the screen needs to be color.

Researchers at the University of Cincinnati announced a breakthrough last week that will lead to the eventual creation of color e-readers. The technology uses a pixel with individual ink reservoirs that can change color with the video quality speed. Technology like this will allow for full color magazines that have the same glossy color images that readers are used to seeing in print magazines.

Conde Nast editorial director Tom Wallace said, "I don’t think we would be anywhere near as excited about anything in black and white as we would about high-definition color. But technology changes at a pretty high clip these days, and if we are now in the Farmer Gray days, it will be only a very short while until we are in the video game era."

Update 05/06/2009:Amazon today announced pre-orders for its Kindle DX 9.7" reader.

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By DaveLessnau on 5/4/2009 5:18:08 PM , Rating: 5
The least of the newspaper industry's problems is a cheap delivery mechanism (cheap to them, at least -- to the consumer, these readers would be anything but cheap). The reason the newspaper industry is dying is that they produce shoddy, biased, non-researched material. If they did their jobs properly, people would still be reading the things (even if delivered on a dead tree).

By Murst on 5/4/2009 5:51:36 PM , Rating: 3
I'm not sure where you get your news then. Most of the news I get is from websites. These stories tend to be written by newspaper writers. However, I don't really pay anything to read these stories.

Most of the time, actually, I read these stories on sites that aggregate news articles. However, this isn't very ideal for the newspapers, since they get no ad revenue.

The business model for newspapers must change, although it would be interesting to see what will happen. These screen readers are quite expensive.

One final thing... did you ever think what would happen if all these newspapers would go out of business? At least with the way it is right now, with the number of newspapers out there, you can get your choice of biased news. If things continue the way they're going, there will be very few news organizations, each with their own bias ( looking at the current cable news market should give you a good idea ), and you'll also get a bunch of amateur bloggers claiming they're news writers.

At least now you have choices. In a few years, there might not be very many good options where you can get your news.

By fishbits on 5/4/2009 6:24:26 PM , Rating: 5
"One final thing... did you ever think what would happen if all these newspapers would go out of business?"

I'd just get their "coverage" for free and with fewer ads by subscribing to the DNC newsletter. The displaced "objective journalists" would continue their jobs, only working in different offices hired as overt political staff.

They see their place as telling us what to think, not their stated purpose of reporting on what happened. And then wonder why they're so distrusted and reviled.

By Cypherdude1 on 5/9/2009 5:27:36 AM , Rating: 2
Kindle DX costs $489! There's no way it's going to save any papers. I can't believe Kindle DX is going to be adopted by the average consumer. I highly doubt people have that much disposable income to spend solely on a dedicated electronic device, especially in these times.

Amazon $489 Kindle DX:

BTW, while I get most of my print news on Yahoo News!, it's written by AP, AFP (Agence France-Presse), and Reuters. They're pretty accurate. Local newspapers cover their respective local areas.

By MozeeToby on 5/4/2009 6:29:26 PM , Rating: 2
To be fair, eReaders do at least have the possibility of saving the newspapers huge amounts of money. There was an article a while back that said the New York Times would save money if they bought each of their subscribers a Kindle and stopped printing paper copies. Printing newspapers on a nationwide scale is more expensive than you might expect.

If nothing else, eReaders might buy them time to work something else out; since they could drastically cut the incremental costs for each new subscriber. Charging half the price of the print edition and still making more profit sounds like a win-win situation.

Obviously, none of this changes the facts that there is more up to date news on more topics available online for free. Newspapers are going to have to find a niche and defend it vigorously if they want to stay relevant in the future.

By mcnabney on 5/5/2009 10:02:30 AM , Rating: 2
Hmmmm. An every-day subscription to the NYT is about $13/week without any discounts or promotions. So $676/year already being paid for paper might go a long way toward buying a Kindle-type device as alternate delivery. But realistically the majority of subscribers would have to switch to reduce their printing/shipping costs.

By othercents on 5/6/2009 11:53:53 AM , Rating: 2
To buy a kindle just to read a newspaper would be ridiculous however if you are already an avid book reader and you are subcribed to 3 or 4 different papers then having them downloaded into a convient device makes lots of sense. At some point in time there won't be an alternative other than electronic downloads either on the computer or on an e-reader.

Personally I wouldn't want to boot up my computer every morning to read the newspaper. However pulling out an e-reader and flipping through the articles while sitting on the porch sipping coffee is just as appealing to me as actually having the paper print except now I don't have black ink on my hands when I walk inside.


By AnnoyedGrunt on 5/5/2009 2:24:12 AM , Rating: 3
I believe that bias is present in minor amounts, but not a significant problem for most people. For me and most others I know, the problem with many newspapers (as well as television news broadcasts) is the lack of depth for any particular story. Everything is presented in a sensational 2 minute ( at most) soundbite, without any real depth, background, alternative points of view, etc.

My wife's step sister was a reporter in Iraq for several years, and when we'd visit with her on her return trips to the US, we'd get a much more interesting perspective on the various issues occurring in the Middle East. Reading a story in the papers here, or watching something on TV would leave many questions unanswered, such that it was practically pointless to read or watch in the first place.

And don't get me started on this whole swine flu BS.

Anyhow, I do think that the delivery of the news is a small part of the problems facing the industry. To me, the far bigger problem is the lack of quality.


By othercents on 5/6/2009 12:14:10 PM , Rating: 2
Quality? What about advertising competition?

Newspapers makes their money on advertising. Yellow Pages makes their money on advertising. Who cares if the articles are good or not. You can have the best writer in the world writing for your paper, but if everyone decides that is the best way to sell their car then there won't be enough advertising money to keep the paper running.

Biased or Unbiased articles don't matter when it comes to advertising and marketing. If the advertising money is going away then you need to find a way to print the articles cheaper. The kindle is a very good option for the newspaper industry and might increase their advertising money especially in classified ads, if they can find a way to market it properly.


By omgwtf8888 on 5/5/2009 10:27:41 AM , Rating: 2
I believe that there should be a law requiring anything reported as "NEWS" to have verifiable sources/information. Too much "news" is created with sources that "refuse to be named as they are not permitted to comment on the issue". This is usually code for i made this up.

I believe there is little true reporting any longer. Mostly what you see is the regurgitation of the major wire services.

There is bias on all sides of the equation and the loser is the public.

If papers/magazines want to survive, start generating some original content and do some true investigative reporting. Start by exposing every politician who has crooked dealings. Stalk them, like you stalk some of the hollywood types and lets start cleaning them out of Washington.

“So far we have not seen a single Android device that does not infringe on our patents." -- Microsoft General Counsel Brad Smith
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