Kindle DX, Textbook Reader

Read any Kindle DX review and it’s obvious the Kindle DX seems perfect for textbooks.

This post will -

  1. Review the Kindle DX specifically as a device for reading textbooks. 
  2. Review whether it makes sense for college and school students.
  3. Help parents decide if they should buy one for their kids.

Here’s a Kindle DX picture so we know what we’re reviewing -

Kindle DX PDF Support

Kindle DX PDF Support

50 word Kindle DX Review for College Students

Combination of -

  1. PDF Support.  
  2. Large Size Screen. 
  3. Very readable eInk. 
  4. Cheaper Textbooks.
  5. No more heavy textbooks.

makes the Kindle DX a great choice. Get your parents to buy you one .

Things to Consider -

  1. Price.
  2. Zero sex appeal.
  3. Focused on Studying + Reading – wikipedia, dictionary, free internet. No other function.
  4. Kindle DX helps you study, read, use time well – its not an entertainment ‘i’m bored, entertain me’ device.

50 word Kindle DX Review for Parents

4 reasons Kindle DX is great for your kids -

  1. DX focuses on reading, studying – no distractions.    
  2. Kindle owners read more. Reading = smarter, improved vocabulary = better grades.
  3. Free Internet, no subscription.
  4. Helps develop a love of reading.

Do Consider -

  1. The Price.   
  2. Kids might not love it as much as video games.

BTW, Here’s a video to see what it looks like (also check my Kindle 2 Videos that include macro mode video so you can see what the screen REALLY looks like) –

50 word Kindle DX Review for Students in School

 Its fun to read on Kindle DX. You get books instantly.

The eInk screen is great. Change font sizes. Have Kindle DX read to you.

No more heavy backpacks. Free Internet.

Reading makes you smarter – smarter is always good.

Tell your parents Kindle DX will help your grades. It will.  

An Interlude

Skim through the rest for the aspects of Kindle DX as textbook reader that you want to know more about.

If you just want to sell your parents on the DX, email them the 50 word kindle dx review for parents.

Top 5 Features that make Kindle DX great for reading textbooks

  1. Focuses attention on reading the textbook and drowns out everything else.  
  2. The eInk screen and large screen size make for a great reading experience.  
  3. PDF support and auto-rotate that allows for landscape mode. 
  4. Light-weight and can carry a lot of textbooks, books, background music.
  5. Free Wireless Internet, Instant delivery of textbooks, and Sync with iPhone.

 DX is a single purpose device – reading. Its great for reading books and textbooks. If a textbook reader is what you’re looking for – the Kindle DX is it.

Top Reasons Kindle DX might be the wrong choice for you

  1. You’re not really looking for a textbook reader.  
  2. The $489 price is more than you can afford.
  3. eInk technology isn’t advanced enough for you – color, touchscreen, video are not yet available.  

Kindles in general are ‘people who’ve used it, absolutely love it’ devices. The overwhelming majority of Kindle owners love it.

In the past there have been strong arguments against Kindles – the lack of pdf support, the screen being too small, the price being too high, and the lack of a function other than reading.

The Kindle DX addresses the first two. The state of eInk technology and Kindle being a relatively new product line means the price has to be high.

Lack of a function other than reading is a crazy argument because its identity is an electronic book and textbook reader.

Knowing what the Kindle DX is, and Knowing what you want

The Kindle DX is for reading. It helps you read textbooks, and books, and documents, and it comes with free Internet access to make reference and basic browsing easy.

You have to consider the Kindle DX and all its functionality from this perspective. Most Kindle DX reviews forget that the DX is for reading.

If you’re questioning whether a multi-purpose device is a better choice than the Kindle DX then go with the multi-purpose device. Seriously, if you’re thinking “the iphone has games” or “I can watch movies on my netbook” then just forget the DX – I can guarantee its the wrong device for you.

The Price Issue – Q1: Is Kindle DX worth $489? Q2: Will you save enough to justify $489?

Yes. No.

To elaborate -

Answer to Q1 is – Yes, DX is worth $489. Because -

  1. eInk is the best reading technology after paper. Check out the Kindle 2 Videos to see what I mean.  
  2. For a new technology, that hasn’t hit mass production, a large size screen reader costing $489 is just a hard fact.
  3. It has benefits over paper – changeable fonts; changeable words per line; search through a book, all books.
  4. Free Internet.   
  5. Wireless delivery of books and textbooks in 60 seconds.   

IF you’re looking for a textbook reader, and will use it on a daily basis, then the Kindle DX is definitely worth the price.

Answer to Q2 – No, you will not get back the $489 you spend on the Kindle DX.

There are all kinds of analysis possible that would assume Kindle DX textbooks are 30% cheaper and that in 1.5 years you make back $500. However – that’s nonsense.

Here’s the secret –  

  1. You’ll read more once you own the Kindle DX. Which also means you’ll spend more than you used to on books, even if they are cheaper.
  2. Reading will be more convenient than with physical textbooks or with a computer.    
  3. Kindle DX will help you do better in school.
  4. No more carrying books around. No reading other people’s used books. No time wasted selling your own books.

The money you spend will be well worth it. However you will not get back the $489 – that’s gone.

If rather than getting value out of the Kindle DX your focus is on saving money and ‘getting back’ the $489, then forget the Kindle DX.

If you focus your time and energy on how to spend less rather than on how to add more value to people’s lives and earn more, money will always be an issue.

Kindle DX as Textbook Reader FAQ

Q: Textbook Price Issue – How much will textbooks cost?
A: Less than they do. Not as little as you think. The overhead in textbooks is not as high as you’d think. Expecting 25% lower prices is reasonable. 50% might be impossible. My money is on 25% to 35% cheaper.

Q: Textbook Coverage – How many of my textbooks will be covered?
A: Amazon says it has 3 of the major textbook publishers – Cengage Learning, Addison Wiley, and Pearson – and they cover 60% of the textbook market. Kindle DX will probably start off with 25% to 40% coverage, and gradually work its way up. In 2-3 years it should have 60-70% of the textbook market.

Q: Kindle DX is not open enough – No ePub, No WiFi. When will this be added?
A: Never. Get over it. Amazon is a company, not a charity.

Q: Should I buy a netbook or a Kindle DX?
A: Netbook.

Q: Should I buy an iPhone or a Kindle DX?
A: iPhone.

Q: Is there any eReader better than the Kindle DX for textbooks?
A: No.

Q: Should I buy Kindle DX or Kindle 2?
A: If you mostly read books, Kindle 2. If you mostly read textbooks then Kindle DX. 

Closing Thoughts on Kindle DX, Textbook Reader

The Kindle DX reviews well as a textbook reader – its extremely well suited for college students and for school.

As a parent – you have to be glad that it encourages reading, avoids distractions and causes next to zero eye strain. If your kids are young and its painful to see them lug heavy backpacks, then the Kindle DX is especially appropriate.

As a student – if you read a lot, for your studies or due to a love of reading, then the Kindle DX is clearly your #1 choice.

The DX doesn’t do anything else – it’s not ‘cool like the Mac’, it isn’t multi-purpose, it has zero ‘helps to kill the time’ features. The only thing it helps is reading and getting better grades.

If you can’t afford it, its unfortunate – I know what it feels like to not have enough money, and it sucks that you can’t get a DX – wait a couple years for cheaper technology.

Finally, I’m one of the most pro-Kindle people you could find (in case this 1400 word kindle dx review didn’t convince you ;) ) and I’ll tell you straight out that if you’re wondering whether you should get a netbook, iphone, or Kindle DX, then it’s a no-contest – get anything except the Kindle DX.

12 Responses

  1. I think this is a great idea. The minute I received my Kindle II, I thought about the college text book dilemma. Having text books available for reference in the future would be a wonderful advantage too.

    Just the difference in the weight of the books alone make this a viable option.

    This is very exciting and I see the Kindle DX as having a wonderful future on campus!

    Dr. D

  2. [...] with Joshua begins at 6:23.) Joshua also appears weekly on the Engadget podcast. Also see Abhi’s blog and Stephen Windwalker’s Kindle Nation update. Other coverage of the DX launch here, here, [...]

  3. I am curious to hear from anyone how it views figures and charts in textbooks. Since it cannot display color and many figures are colored, this may affect the readability of the figures. Science textbooks include lots of images and charts.

  4. [...] Amazon dropped their Kindle DX — introduced with a marketing message explicitly speaking to its value proposition to text book publishers — with such an uncanny confluence of timing. Share [...]

  5. My first obvious question is what happens if it’s lost, stolen, or broken? Are the textbooks tied to the Kindle DX or the PC or personal account? If you could load your textbooks on a replacement Kindle DX if it was lost, stolen or broken that would be costly but acceptable – if you have to re-buy the books too then it’s not worth it. It’s kind of like having all your eggs (textbooks) in one basket (Kindle DX). Somethinhg to concider before buying.

    • Textbooks are on your account. You can download them for free to your replacement Kindle DX. Also up to 6 Kindles can share an account.

      If you lose or break your kindle dx, you DO NOT lose your textbooks.

  6. What exactly does “free internet” mean, as described in this review? The official Kindle DX promos don’t go so far as to say anything like this. What kinds of webpages will load, and what won’t. How fast is the access? Will Kindle support Java Applets?

    Just curious.

    • Kindle browser is pretty rudimentary. There is a basic mode and there is an advanced mode which in dx is called desktop mode and supports javascripts.
      not sure about java applets. i’m in canada so can’t test it out.
      you can access pretty much any site that doesn’t use a ton of redirects or loads of advanced stuff.

      people have used twitter and facebook and gmal although redirects cause problems.
      free internet is probably not advertised because if people start using it too much it won’t be ‘free’ any more.

  7. Great article. I sure do love this site. I am definitely going to show this to my parents, I have wanted a Kindle for months and they are still not convinced. Hopefully this will convince them. I think their problem is that they think why waste your money on a Kindle when you can borrow free books from the library, but the Kindle has so many more benefits. Do you have any tips on how I can argue with them on the library point?

    • Tell them that you can get books from the library plus you can read on the Kindle.
      The Kindle has lots of benefits –

      1) Free wikipedia.
      2) Free Internet – it’s a basic browser but usable for some sites.
      3) Built in dictionary that lets you improve your vocabulary.
      4) For times when publishers enable it -> read to me which converts books into audiobooks.
      5) Lots of free books. There’s also a microsoft and library of englangd initiative to add 80,000+ free books. Plus all google free books can be converted.
      6) No waiting.
      7) 10-15 free book offers a month on new books.
      8) Open any time. Plus get books in 60 seconds.

      There are a ton of benefits. Tell them you’ll be reading a lot more and that helps a lot of things – vocabulary, grades (if you’re in school or college), your mind and imagination.

  8. but where do you buy the textbooks to download? how do i know that the textbooks i need will be available? i went to amazon.com and searched for my economics textbook ISBN:9780324586206 and I did not see a link to purchase this textbook for a kindle. a kindle would be a great investment ONLY if i can get the textbooks i need. can somone explain to me how to the system works and how to tell whether a certain textbook is available to purchase for kindle or not?

    • John, searching by ISBN is the right way. You can also search by title.

      At the moment it’s unlikely you’ll be able to get more than 40-50% of your text books in the Kindle Store. If you can’t get the 5 or 10 most important textbooks you should probably wait until the selection is better.

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