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Bezos: Amazon could open up its Kindle to other ebook formats

By Matthew Shaer / June 16, 2009

Amazon.com CEO Jeff Bezos unveils the Kindle DX, a large-screen version of its popular Kindle electronic reader, during a press conference in New York last month.

Emmanuel Dunand/AFP/Newscom

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Is Amazon considering opening up its popular Kindle digital reader to other ebook formats?

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According to the New York Times, that was the general thrust of comments made yesterday by Jeff Bezos, Amazon’s CEO. Speaking at Wired Magazine's Disruptive by Design Conference, Bezos held forth widely on the future of ebooks, from Amazon's new DX to the state of the publishing industry. "We will make Kindle books, at the same $9.99 price point, available on the iPhone, and other mobile devices and other computing devices," he said, at one point.

But the real buzz has swirled around Bezos' remarks on formatting. The Amazon CEO suggested, without offering specifics, that the Kindle format could become available on other devices – and that the Kindle would support external formats. Currently, the iPhone is the only non-Kindle reader that supports Kindle books.

Bezos unveiled the latest Kindle – called the DX – at an event in May. It goes on sale this month. The DX has an expanded hard drive, which can hold upward of 3,000 texts, and like the iPhone, it is equipped with motion-sensing technology. At 1/3 of an inch thick, the DX is about as thin as an issue of the Christian Science Monitor’s weekly edition.

Taking advantage of the DX's wide new screen, Amazon has partnered with three major newspapers – including the New York Times – to sell a bargain-priced DX to subscribers.

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