Bye, Bye DX

Well, don’t bother seeking out that $299 deal on the Kindle DX I posted about the other day. Shortly after the discount showed up on Amazon’s DX listing, all in-stock units sold out, and it looks like they aren’t going to restock them. The buy-from-Amazon option is gone, and now you can only purchase used units from third-party sellers in the Amazon Marketplace. A few other blogs have decided to go ahead and report that the Kindle DX is most likely dead, and I am inclined to agree.

A TeleRead.com post from the first day of the discount suggested that Amazon might be making room on their shelves for a new Paperwhite DX, but this is very unlikely. The fact is, the Kindle DX was never a big seller for the company due to its aging firmware and sky-high price tag. The Kindle DX debuted at $450, only $49 less than the iPad after 2010 (a device with ten times the capabilities).

The truth is, it never took off in the beginning either. The Digital Reader blog reports that the Kindle DX, first released back in June 2009 and updated in 2010, was originally supposed to be a bestseller in the education market. Pilot programs and test surveys were held at a few universities, but students just didn’t want to adapt the large, heavy, slow device. The first video ‘commercial’ on Amazon’s DX (2009) listing page shows a young student taking in a textbook outside of a very collegiate-looking building. The DX was marketed to university-level students, but, according to reports, they found the DX too cumbersome to use. Students have to have the ability to annotate books with speed, and switch between two or three different textbooks at a time. The slow processor and short battery life just weren’t suited for student’s needs. Worse yet, Amazon did not make the first DX compliant with the Americans with Disabilities Act, a law which requires any educational tool to be usable by students with any kind of disability. Blind students could not use the first DX, and Amazon was hit with several different lawsuits as a result (the later DX and Kindle 3 models included a text-to-speech option for menus).

The Kindle DX may have been in the “Kindle Family” lineup on Amazon.com for the past three years, but that was most likely the result of overstock and poor sales. As Barnes & Noble, Sony, and Kobo heated up the price wars for Amazon, Kindle devices became leaner and cheaper. Customers came to expect $100 as a standard price for an eReader, and the 6″ E Ink display became the universally accepted size. There was just no need for a larger, 9.7″ eReader. The Kindle DX price tag fell behind with the times, and the onslaught of 7″ tablets made buying a $379 eReader an unlikely proposition. Amazon ran a fire sale for the DX last Black Friday, and a $299 sale this month, and that, my friends, is the end of the Kindle DX.

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