Amazon prepares for 'textbook e-reader wars'

<p>Amazon&#39;s preview of the Kindle DX was &quot;a smart tactical manoeuvre&quot; designed to pre-empt competition from other manufacturers in a market that is &quot;a new Holy Grail&quot;, according to a senior figure at OUP.<br /><br />Evan Schnittman, vice-president global business development at Oxford University Press, said Amazon had revealed the device early so it could stake out its territory before the academic market becomes home to the &quot;textbook e-reader wars&quot;. The DX will be available from the summer, and costs $489 (&pound;325).<br /><br />He said: &quot;If you look at the two previous Kindle press conferences, both were held at the precise moment of release. The events were announcements of a product that was ready to ship, not, as with the DX, a preview event. Amazon made a premeditated change in their strategy . . . because it sees Apple as the player to beat in the university marketplace, and the last thing Amazon wishes to be is also-ran news after Apple launches a device for this market.&quot;<br /><br />Schnittman highlighted the importance of the higher education market&mdash;one that has &quot;consistently rejected all previous digital attempts&quot;, which he described as being &quot;made up of the most wired, wireless, trend-setting, trend-following, advertising-influencing, advertising target audience in the world&quot;.</p><p>By winning over an audience of students, possibly with devices that are subsidised by universities or included in the tuition fees, manufacturers could train a future generation of readers to see e-reading as the norm, he added.<br /><br />But he warned it was not only Apple which may become a &quot;future threat&quot; to Amazon, describing an unnamed device, which included both an e-ink and an LCD display, offering both immersive reading and interactivity on one gadget.<br /><br />Schnittman also cited a development by Sharp, announced last year, which allows a full-colour LCD screen to hold an image without power being used &quot;much like e-ink&quot;. He said: &quot;This screen, if fine-tuned and developed for a device like a Kindle or iPhone, could be the silver bullet that conquers this market.&quot;</p>