A big screen Kindle? Not interested or interesting

So this morning is the big “Kindle Announcement

The leading theory is a larger screened ‘Kindle DX’ (wonder what DX is for? In Honda’s the DX is the base model)

For newspapers and college texts. What I don’t get is why does it need to have a larger screen? Newspapers are larger physically than books, yes that’s true. College Text books range from paperbacks, to heavy ass bug squishers, yes that’s true too. But we’re going digital, so why should the form factor mimic the old analog model?

Newspapers are arrayed in columns, which fits the Kindle form factor nicely. Select a column to read, scroll through it, go back the TOC and select a new column. Why would I need a larger screen for that? To display two or three columns? What’s the net benefit of that?

Text books are just books, they read from page to page and usually have lots of pictures and graphs. I can say, a diagram would be easier to appreciate on a larger screen, since the Kindle 2 shrinks the graphic to fit it’s screen. Larger complex graphics may not work well for that. Since the new “Kindle DX” isn’t color, I can’t really see it being better for images, than the current model.

All that said, AND a larger device is 1. more breakable and 2. larger and more combursome. So where’s the benefit to a college kid? or my mom (the likely target of the newspaper angle)?

So what I really hope tomorrow is all about is new features for the Kindle 2. Features that will make newspaper reading better, and make the Kindle 2 even more College friendly.

Such as?

  1. shared annotation. College kids swap notes, share info, even sometimes share text books. Being able to collaborate on reading will be a huge boon. If I could be at my mom’s house doing my laundry, catching up on my Econ reading, and could make a note that my room mate would see later when he goes to do his reading, that would be priceless.
  2. Better highlighting and bookmarking. I’d want to be able to quickly ‘open’ a text book and have a list of my ‘dog ears’ or highlights, for that book only.
  3. Folder or some sort of tagging structure. Figure each college course will have several books, textbooks, required reading, etc. Having X pages to flip through looking for the right book, is whack. It’s one case when they’re books you intentionally put on your Kindle wanting to read. You likely know the names. But college textbooks with names that mean nothing to you, are long, and usually very wordy, good luck. Being able to separate econ books from romantic lit, and poli sci, would be a huge time/effort saver.
  4. Better TOC support for newspapers. Ideally some HTML/CSS approach that everyone can use. Something to make it easy to hop around the paper
  5. Support for “my newspaper” type subscriptions. I’d subscribe to several newspapers if I could exclude sports, real estate, movies, etc. All the shit I toss from my regular Sunday paper. If I could customize my newspaper to be the business section from the NYT, and WSJ, the tech and calendar from the San Jose Mercury News, and the Arts section from some other paper, I’d be in like Flynn. I mean it’s a digital paper, why not take advantage of the things digital has to offer?

I suspect nothing from my list will be revealed today :( but my fingers are crossed.

By John Wilker

I'm a science fiction writer and conference organizer. In 2017 I published my first book, 'Space Rogues', a fun Sci-Fi adventure with a fun cast of characters. I'm also the co-founder of 360|Conferences, a conference and event logistics consulting company.

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