Kindle DX: Amazon takes on the world

Amazon's latest Kindle DX will allow readers in 100 countries wireless access to books.

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The e-book just took another step toward global dominance. Amazon has announced that starting on Jan. 19 it will ship its new Kindle DX with Global Wireless, a larger (it has a 9.7 inch screen) and more expensive (it sells for $489) version of its Kindle e-reader designed for use in 100 countries.

In October Amazon launched a version of the Kindle intended for international use. But that Kindle with U.S. & International Wireless is closer to the domestic Kindle in both appearance (a 6 inch screen) and price ($279).

Is the new product worthy of its price tag? If you live outside the US, you may well decide that it is. CNET editors gives the new DX a 3-1/2 star-rating, noting that, "The pricey Kindle DX offers improvements over the Kindle 2," but adding that "its larger chassis has its pluses [improved readability] and minuses [bulk]."

Recommended: 10 best books of October, according to Amazon's editors

International readers able to afford the device may find a couple of additional obstacles. In some countries (India, for instance), newspapers read on the Kindle will cost more than their physical counterparts. And all international readers must pay in US dollars – a requirement at which some are likely to balk.

Also, the Kindle will not work in China – a nation with an estimated 200 to 300 million enthusiastic book readers.

But given the success of Kindle in the US (last month Amazon said that Kindle had become the most gifted item in the company's history), there is every reason to expect that the pricey new DX will have its fans, particularly among readers who travel globally.

However, that does raise a question that I'd like to have answered before my next flight (two weeks from tomorrow). What, if any, are the new restrictions on e-readers in flight?

Marjorie Kehe is the Monitor’s book editor. You can follow her on Twitter at twitter.com/MarjorieKehe

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