Amazon just debuted their extra-large digital reader Kindle DX, and it could presage the coming end of the print newspaper.
The response to the Kindle 2 has been generally favorable, and while the Kindle is no longer being hyped as the 'next iPhone,' sales are strong, even at a steep $359 price point.
Now newspaper readers have something to be excited about. The new Kindle DX (which Engadget videotaped last week) is large enough to display the equivalent of a folded newspaper's worth of text.
So if you don't mind shelling out $500, you can simply download your morning New York Times onto the DX. The column structure of a typical newspaper fits nicely onto the Kindle display, so you don't have to scroll around to complete your sentences -- a major advance.
According to Paul Miller of Engadget it also has better blacks, a better keyboard and a nifty rotating screen.
There are few devices that I want to jump out and buy, but this may have just made my list. I LOVE newspapers, but over the past few years I've weaned myself from them simply because I can't cope with the environmental impact of such a massive publishing enterprise.
According to the Green Press Initiative (PDF) newspapers consumed about 6.2 million tons of newsprint in 2006 (an additional 3.4 million tons comes from recycled paper). That is the equivalent of approximately 104 million trees each year, and along with the processing of those trees comes a truck load of environmental problems. According to Jeremy Briggs of Hemphasis:
The pulp and paper industry is the third largest industrial polluter – 220 million pounds of toxic pollution into air and water each year. Deforestation has released an estimated 120 billion tons of CO2 into the air. 3 million tons of chlorine, a major source of carcinogen dioxin, is dumped into our waterways each year from paper companies.
He did a little calculation and determined that it would be cheaper for the New York Times to send a Kindle to each of its 830,000 subscribers than to continue printing on paper.