Giant Kindle
Amazon ‘s new expensive Kindle DX is coming:

Amazon introduced the third edition of its Kindle this morning, a version that, in addition to offering trade books, will now display textbooks, computer books and cookbooks on a 9.7 inch electronic display screen that includes 16 shades of grade—the same gray-scale as the Kindle 2. Magazines and newspapers, already available on the Kindle, will increase their presence on the new device. Price for Kindle DX is $489 and Amazon will start shipping the device in the summer.

This picture, from Amazon’s website, strongly implies that the Kindle might be more comics friendly — and that’s probably just how Amazon intended it.

Kelson Vibber has more on the Kindle/comics connection.


  1. As news was leaking out about the textbook and newspaper publishers supporting this new version of the Kindle, I realized, if it can handle newspaper photos and textbook illustrations, it can handle comicbook illustrations. It also handles PDFs.

    Most interesting feature: It rotates. So one could see the entire comics page as a portrait layout, then turn the screen to a landscape layout with the page automatically enlarging to fill the width (formally height) of the screen. If it’s programmed correctly, Amazon could add a feature where you move the Kindle in a certain direction, and the page moves as well. (You move the Kindle up, and the page scrolls down, as if the device was a window into another dimension.)

    How soon before someone unlocks the Kindle and replaces the reader with an operating system? Aside from Motorola, is anyone else using electronic paper as a display for cellphones or laptops?

  2. As the screen-size is slightly larger than digest-size, I would love to read manga and B&W indie releases on one of these. (And something like this could definitely be a solution to some of the distribution problems indie publishers currently face—if it caught on.) Kindles are super easy to read on and the ability to hold a library of comics in a single device is stellar.

    Unfortunately, I just bought a Kindle 2 last month. *sigh* I needs more patience.

  3. Ok, Kindle DX, black and white.

    Quick, indie comic creators, get in there NOW, and get worldwide distro.

    My hunch? The big comic companies are on the phone with KIndle NOW, working to bring their Kindle Kiddie Kolour Komics to you very soon. As soon as the revenue thing and the DRM is working right, we’ll see a colour Kindle.

    Just sayin’.

  4. This is so freaking obvious…making customers pay $3.99 for today’s issue of New Mutants is not a sustainable business model. But a much lower yearly subscription like the NY Times is going to charge…now that’s starting to make some sense.

    Hopefully we’ll see a price adjustment on the hardware soon, like Apple did after the first iPhones were introduced.

  5. I agree with Charles. They’re going to release a color Kindle eventually– I’m not dropping $300 now just to upgrade in two years so I can finally read my comics on it.

  6. “Quick, indie comic creators, get in there NOW, and get worldwide distro.”

    I know for regular book authors that you can self-publish and amazon take 35% – I have no idea how that compares to current comic margins?

    I’m really excited about all this from an “expert” perspective (I research and consult on disruptive technologies) – as I mentioned on another post, the infrastructure is there, the user communities are there and the devices are starting to move towards where we want them to be for the full comics experience. Once the price for those sorts of devices comes down, then mass adoption should fall and the wall will come crumbling down.

    From a reader perspective, what I’m really looking forward to is subscribing to Captain Kangaroo comics and then it’s automatically delivered for me to read with my coffee in the morning.

    We are heading into some really interesting times…

  7. “As soon as the revenue thing and the DRM is working right, we’ll see a colour Kindle.”

    That’s currently a technology restriction to do with boring tech stuff to do with e-ink – Fujitsu have a colour reader which uses a slightly different technology but at a higher price (@$1000) and at the cost of battery life (@ 40 hours or 2,400 page turns).

    However, people are working hard to overcome those limitations and it’s a matter of when not if that a reasonable price colour e-reader comes on the market.

    Where Amazon really have the march on the competition such as sony is that (like apple with itunes + ipod) they have already built the ecology needed to support the devices.

  8. Question: How do color PDFs appear on a Kindle grayscale? Is there an automatic filter which converts specific colors to specific grays (instead of the old photocopy system)?

    Hmmm… DC and Marvel have already converted most of their titles to black and white.

  9. The rumors of Apple coming out with a Mac Touch or iTablet have been around for the last year or so. Apple has said that the iTouch is a platform much like the iPod, so coming out in a larger format is inevitable. Word is that Apple has already put in orders for 9×6 touchscreens from their manufacturer.

    It would never be as low in cost as the Kindle, but have a price tier in place like the rest of Apple products. Probably between the iPhone & a Macbook, $800-1000.

    The problem with the Kindle is that it is a single use device, whereas a larger iTouch could also be used as a netbook laptop, either with the touch screen or a wireless keyboard.

    it would also make it easier to view torrent downloads as a full screen in something like iPreview.

  10. Ohhhh my. I like my regular-sized Kindle 2 — it’s easier to carry around in my purse — but I have been anticipating this and experimenting with the best way to format comics for it.

    Most of the comics I read aren’t in color, so I don’t really care about that.

  11. @Seth – But if Apple’s reader is backlit, it fails the e-book test for readability. Backlighting is one of the primary reasons that reading on a computer screen is uncomfortable.

    Like Jennifer, I read a lot of B&W, so I’d be happy to just have those on the 9.7″ Kindle. That doesn’t mean that I wouldn’t be stoked if the technology came that would allow a colour-capable edition. Jimmy Corrigan wouldn’t be as delectable in B&W and I do still enjoy Ultimate Spider-Man :)

    I am, of course, still a bit concerned about DRM/ownership issues. The thing I like about my comics is that fact that I can reread them for years to come (I do occasionally reread books I purchased nearly thirty years ago). If Amazon collapses or if the format/tech changes significantly, we still don’t have any guarantee that Kindle’s proprietary format will transfer. I’m more okay with this in regard to novels than I am with comics or music. When I buy Absolute Sandman, I’m pretty comfortable that barring fire, flood, or theft, I will never again have to buy Sandman in order to read it. So far, Kindle doesn’t offer that kind of comfort.

  12. @Dane isn’t there a Kindle app for the iPhone? I would assume a larger ITouch would work the same way. It would only be a matter of Apple creating their own e-ink & paper or having individual content providers create their own apps to work with non-Kindle sourced content.

    I would be less concerned about backlighting than I would about battery life.

  13. There is that app, it’s true, but I think that’s largely meant to draw people to purchase the Kindle once they realize how much better it is reading on a non-backlit screen. Though it might not be a concern for you, that’s really the main thing that the Kindle offers—reading digital without the eyestrain. Everything else on it is gravy and could really be found on any mobile computer if the device was set up for it.

    Apple certainly could develop their own e-reader device, but so long as it doesn’t use e-ink or some equivalent, it will be an inferior machine. Even if it uses colour. The problem is that if it does use e-ink or some equivalent, it can’t look as bright and slick as Apple products are known to be. I suppose that they could try to invent something that switches seamless between LCD and e-ink depending on need, but that seems even further off than a colour Kindle.

  14. Question: Would you use a black-and-white electronic paper iPhone if the trade-off was longer battery life? (My Palm Treo is mostly used for web browsing, although I do visit YouTube when I’m bored.)

  15. The school I teach at just announced yesterday that they were entering into a program with Amazon so that some first-year classes and students would be Kindle-only — all textbooks, etc. would be on the Kindle (that presumably would be supplied to the kids). I am suspicious because (what if I want to use a book that ISN’T Kindle-ready?) but if they have Kindles, one can suppose that they will quickly turn to them for less than academic interests — and since you can’t play games on it, why not comics? This model, in some ways, solves the price issue, at least partly for developers.


  16. I had to make the pages fit into a 450X550 pixel area, then save them as a GIF file (16 shades of Grey or less, not interlaced with dithering turned on), being careful to keep them below 64K for each page. Since the pages didn’t fit the aspect ratio, I opted for black borders on either side.
    I think the new Kindle will have alot more pixels to play with, but that’s the current size.
    Then you make a simple HTML file that lists the pages in order. Crunch the files into a ZIP file, and upload onto Amazon.

  17. I think the flipping thing is going to be a real problem for formatting comics. It looks like it automatically resizes the image, which is bad for comics because it means you have less control over how your image looks. Things will be squashed vertically.

  18. If you travel, the Kindle is the best space saving, light weight option ever! I loaded 5 books into my new Kindle and took off for a 2 week trip. With the wireless off, the battery lasted the entire trip with power to spare. I downloaded another book during an airport stopover in less than 1 minute! No more expensive paperback or hardcover books for me when my featherweight Kindle equals unlimited books.