Today’s Bargain Price: $79.98
Amazon today introduced the all-new Kindle Paperwhite, updating its most popular and best-selling Kindle with the highest resolution Paperwhite display, the exclusive Kindle font Bookerly, and a new typesetting engine for more beautiful pages. Meet the new Kindle Paperwhite:
All-New Kindle Paperwhite, 6″ High-Resolution Display (300 ppi) with Built-in Light, Wi-Fi – Includes Special Offers
“The new Kindle Paperwhite obsesses over the details that matter most to readers—we’ve added our highest-resolution display so the words are crisp and clear on the page, a new font that is crafted exclusively for reading Kindle books, and a new typesetting engine that makes pages beautiful. Together, these details help you read faster and with less eyestrain, so you can lose yourself in the author’s world.”
- New, higher resolution display (300 ppi)–now with twice as many pixels
- Now with Bookerly, our exclusive font, hand-crafted from the ground up for faster reading with less eyestrain
- Built-in adjustable light–read day and night
- Unlike tablets, no screen glare, even in bright sunlight
- A single battery charge lasts weeks, not hours
- Massive selection, lowest prices–over a million titles at $2.99 or less
- Lighter than a paperback, holds thousands of books
- Exclusive features help build your vocabulary, learn about characters, and connect with like-minded readers–all without leaving the page
- Try Kindle Unlimited free for 30 days–choose from over 800,000 titles
Don’t lose your place in line: pre-order right now for delivery June 30!
When Amazon rolled out its new Kindle models back on September 6, there was — understandably — so much buzz at the new Kindle Fire HD models that it would have been easy to overlook the “monochrome” ebook reader, the Paperwhite. Well, I’ve been a Paperwhite review unit since Wednesday of this week, and I can assure you that this new Kindle should not be ignored. I’m impressed, and I am *almost willing and ready to say that the Paperwhite is the best pure ebook reader yet released by Amazon or anyone else. (*My one gripe may just be a personal idiosyncrasy of my own, so I am willing to discount and get to it later in this review, and I may even outgrow it.)
You can order a Paperwhite unit now on the Amazon website for shipment in late October, and there are two basic choices: a $119 wifi only unit and another, for $179, that offers a choice of wifi and 3G connectivity. At those prices the Paperwhite comes”with special offers,” but you also have the option of paying an extra $20 for either Paperwhite model “without special offers.”
At 7.8 ounces, or 7.5 ounces for the wifi-only model, the Paperwhite feels great in the hand and is the same weight as the Kindle Touch 3G from 2011 and about an ounce lighter than its predecessor in Amazon’s evolutionary tree, the Kindle Keyboard 3G that was introduced in the summer of 2010 and remains available. The processor is the fastest yet on a dedicated ebook reader, the connectivity via wifi and 3G are great, and with wifi turned off the battery and power management allow for an amazing 8 weeks of battery life with the light on.
That’s all well and good, but where the new Paperwhite really hits a home run is right where we, as readers, would want it to smack the ball: with an unparalleled visual reading experience.
Millions of us may have gotten used to the charcoal-on-gray visuals of previous eInk Kindle displays, and even convinced each other that they’re better for our sleep rhythms than a cup of warm milk before bed. But I’m here to tell you that visual reading experience with the new Paperwhite display is not just a home run, it’s a walk-off grand slam, due to the combination of gorgeous hand-crafted font and font size choices, heightened resolution provided by 212 PPI pixel density compared with 167 PPI on previous eInk Kindles, and a patented new technology that distributes light far more evenly than we generally experience with ambient light and, in the bargain, allows for a vastly improved capacitative touch experience.
That Paperwhite “lighted screen” far surpasses the “light in the corner” experience of the Nook’s Glow units and the “I can’t read this by the pool” experience of the iPad. It renders the display so beautifully in all environments, from bright sunshine to a totally dark room, that nobody will ever have reason to complain about contrast on the Paperwhite. This very simple image of the several current monochrome models side-by-side illustrates the point we are making about contrast far better than words:
We’re keeping this initial review relatively brief so that we can focus on other new Kindle features in coming days without wearing out our welcome, but the bottom line is this: if there is a place in your home for a dedicated Kindle ebook reader, the Kindle Paperwhite will probably meet your needs better than any other dedicated ebook reader on the market. We know that millions of our readers have already invested in earlier Kindle models or in the dazzling new Kindle Fire HD models, but given the fact that Amazon has a no-questions-asked 30-day-return policy, it may be worth your while to order the Kindle Paperwhite now so that you can test-drive it in late October and thus be in a position to make an educated decision about whether it belongs on your 2012 holiday gift list, either outgoing or incoming.
*So, what’s my gripe with the Paperwhite? I have to admit that I’m disappointed that there is no audio on the Paperwhite and, therefore, no text-to-speech. I suspect that I’m somewhere in the top 1/10 of 1% when it comes to how much Kindle reading I do in all forms (including manuscripts that authors and publishers send in for prospective Kindle Nation Daily sponsors), and it frankly is a huge help to me to be able to use text-to-speech to expand my reading time to time when I am doing my daily walking or falling asleep at night. I’ll continue to rely on my trusty Kindle DX and my relatively new Kindle Fire HD for text-to-speech, and I will just have to see where that leaves my new Paperwhite on my Kindle lineup. And I should be clear that the fact that I am personally disappointed about the omission of audio on the Paperwhite doesn’t mean I would quarrel with Amazon’s call on this, because I suspect both that the tradeoff allowed Amazon to keep the Paperwhite weight and price down and also that it may enhance adoption, for instance, in secondary school classrooms and libraries.
By Len Edgerly
Amazon is shortening the half-life of normal.
That’s my impression the morning after the latest torrent of new devices and inventions released yesterday, September 6th, here in Santa Monica, California.
It was just 345 days ago that the Seattle game changers introduced the Kindle Fire at a press conference in New York City. It’s instructive to remember back to when the idea of Amazon selling a color tablet was pretty radical stuff.
As Amazon founder and CEO Jeff Bezos strode across the stage and raised that first Fire high, like a proud fist, I thought I saw a golden rim around it. It turned out to be just the reflection of the arty overhead lights at the venue, but Amazon went on to find plenty of gold in the original Fire. In its first nine months the seven-inch tablet snatched 22 percent of the U.S. tablet market.
Before yesterday, “normal” had settled down for a while, to a solid lineup of E Ink Kindles and one Kindle Fire. Amazon Prime customers came to think it normal that their $79 annual membership keeps bringing additional benefits, like free book borrowing at the Kindle Owners’ Lending Library and an ever-expanding selection of free movies and TV shows through Prime Instant Video.
Yesterday’s press conference in Santa Monica opened with a new television ad shown on a huge screen at the back of the stage. The ad highlighted Amazon’s most successful innovations, from one-click purchasing to customer reviews and the creation of the Kindle. It ended with this statement: “Look around. What once seemed wildly impractical is now completely normal. Then normal just begs to be messed with.”
As the lights came up, Jeff Bezos entered from Stage Left grinning, ready to start messing with normal. He wore jeans, a sports jacket, and a white shirt with colorful buttons. His famous and jarring laugh is under wraps for these tightly scripted events. What remains is a nearly constant smile, just this side of a smirk.
“We. Love. To invent.” He made that statement just as I’ve written it, with pauses separating the words. He continued, “We love to pioneer. We even love to go down alleys that turn out to be blind alleys.”
Exhibit A of a blind alley, which Bezos cited when I interviewed him in Seattle this summer, was the invention of “locations” in Kindle books. It was a reasonable innovation for identifying where you are in a book when the number of pages changes with the font size, but customers hated it.
“Of course every once in a while,” he said yesterday, “one of those blind alleys opens up into a broad avenue—and that’s really fun.”
By now you have, I’m sure, checked out the new lineup of devices that Bezos introduced. For each one, he had fun touting new features and highlighting the engineering prowess that made them possible. The crowd of 400, mainly journalists not paid to holler and applaud, couldn’t help offering some oohs and ahs.
I felt the suspense build as each of the new products was described on the screen and demonstrated by Bezos at his lectern. What is this thing going to cost?
I guessed too low for the new Kindle 6-inch Paperwhite, with its gorgeous frontlit screen, but my tech assistant for the press conference, Garrett Riley, came close to nailing it when I whispered a request for his prediction. He guessed $100; it’s actually $119 with Special Offers and ships October 1.
Here is the rest of the lineup:
Kindle Fire HD 8.9″ 4G for $499, ships November 20.
Kindle Fire HD 8.9″ for $299, ships November 20.
Kindle Fire HD 7″ for $199, ships September 14.
Kindle Paperwhite 3G with Special Offers for $179, ships October 1.
In the past, I have purchased every new Kindle in order to make sure I have hands-on experience to share with my listeners and readers. But yesterday’s offerings arrived as a blur of possibilities, reminding me of a story I heard when I lived in Casper, Wyoming.
A cowhand was supposed to be counting cattle moving into a corral. When he presented his tally, it contained a single line for each animal along with a few marks that led the foreman to ask, “What are these?”
“Oh, them’s bunches,” the wrangler replied.
Likewise, the specific devices kind of flowed together in my mind as we tried them out and watched demos in the high lobby of the Barker Hanger. Did the Kindle Paperwhite have audio? Or just the Fires? (Answer: Just the Fires.)
Back here at the hotel last night, I hit the one-click button on a Kindle Paperwhite without 3G, because I can tether it to my iPhone whenever I need to. It won’t be shipped for three weeks, so that led me also to buy the new entry-level six-inch Kindle, which I’m happy to see left Amazon’s facility this morning at 6 a.m. and is headed to Cambridge for delivery in four days.
I wanted to try one of the HD Fires, but I love my iPad 3, so I bought the Kindle Fire HD 7” and will have that in just over a week.
In addition to the devices themselves, Amazon’s new generation includes inventions big and small that illustrate just how much fun they’re having and how closely they are aligning themselves with customers.
If you are like me, one of the things you still miss from the days of paper books is being able to flip ahead a few pages to see how far it is to the end of the chapter you’re on. The new Kindles will show that information in the lower corner when you tap to bring up the controls. The software even tracks how fast you’re reading, so the estimate of how soon you will reach the end of the chapter, or the book, is tailored to your own pace.
An invention that has the potential to revolutionize content as much as Kindle Singles is Kindle Serials. It’s an idea that dates back to Charles Dickens, and it will get a big boost from Amazon. There are eight series available already for $1.99 each and two free ones, based on Dickens classics. When you buy a series, you will receive the first installment and all future ones, as described in the listing details.
When a future episode arrives on your Kindle, it will replace the previous file with one containing all the episodes released so far. But unlike file replacements which we now receive sometimes for corrected books, these updated Serials downloads will preserve all of your notes and highlights.
Russ Grandinetti, VP for Kindle content, told me Serials is only available through Amazon Publishing, so you can’t create one yourself through Kindle Direct Publishing yet. But I am sure that is something they’d like to do in the future, once they get the new content up and running.
Another breakthrough is one we’ve known was only a matter of time. Since Amazon owns Audible.com, why not sell an audio book paired with a Kindle book, so you can switch from reading to listening and never lose your place? Welcome to Whispersync for Voice.
Here is my advice: Don’t delay making your choices from among these new device options, and settle in as fast as you can to the new normal for Kindle reading. Because the way things are going, we won’t have long before Amazon messes with normal–again.
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First, here’s an important tip for everyone interested in getting one of the new Kindle Fire HD units into their hands as quickly as possible: While most of the new Kindle Fire HD models will be released in November, the brand new $199 16GB Kindle Fire HD 7″ model with Dolby audio, 2 antennas, and dual-band wi-fi will be released NEXT FRIDAY, Sept 14 – here’s a link to get your order in right away http://bit.ly/FIRE-HD-SEPT14 (And by the way, this is the Kindle Fire that will be going to winners of our weekly Kindle Fire giveaway sweepstakes. We’ll be announcing not one but two winners in the next few days.)
In addition to our usual coverage of free and bargain books and this week’s great column from contributing editor Len Edgerly just below, here are links to some of our other coverage of this week’s Kindle news:
- Amazon Changes the Tablet World Forever with a Brand New Family of Kindle Fires from $159 Up http://bit.ly/FIRE-CHANGER
- KF-KND Editor April Hamilton’s Live Report from Today’s Kindle Press Conference http://bit.ly/UvtRww
- Services and Content are the Killer Apps for the New Kindles: Come For The Devices, Stay For The Services http://bit.ly/Kindle-Services
- What About TTS & Collections on the New Kindles? http://bit.ly/Oia1pm
New Kindle Ordering Links
Kindle Fire HD 8.9″ 4G for $499, ships November 20.
Kindle Fire HD 8.9″ for $299, ships November 20.
Kindle Fire HD 7″ for $199, ships September 14 (32GB model ships Oct. 25).
Kindle Paperwhite 3G with Special Offers for $179, ships in October. (This link will also take you to the Kindle Keyboard and the $69 Kindle.)
Important Links for New Kindle Accessories, Warranties, and More
Kindle Fire Accessories
Kindle E-reader Accessories
Judge Approves eBook Pricing Settlement Between Government and Publishers (This one almost upstaged the Amazon press conference, since it became public just moments before Jeff Bezos stepped on stage Thursday. We’ll have more to say about it soon, and it is great news for ebook consumers, but for now you can get the basics from the New York Times.)