June 17, 2015 Last Updated 5:37 pm

Amazon upgrades the display on the Paperwhite eReader

A look at the current line-up of tablets and eReaders shows that displays are not the differentiator – storage, memory, computing power, OS is where buyers should look

The Kindle Paperwhite has been updated by Amazon today, bumping up the resolution of the eReader to 300ppi.

The announcement got me thinking about the state of tablet and eReader displays. My first thought, which was wrong, was that there was not much variation between displays. So I did a quick chart to look at just a few of the models:

[table width=“100px” th=”0″]
Tablets, Size, Display, PPI
iPad Air2, 9.7”, 2048×1536, 264ppi
iPad Mini 3, 7.9”, 2048×1536, 326ppi
Fire HDX 8.9, 8.9, 2560×1600, 329ppi
Fire HDX 7, 7”, 1920×1200, 323ppi
Samsung Galaxy Tab S, 10.5, 2560×1600, 288ppi
Samsung Galaxy Tab S, 8.4, 2560×1600, 359ppi
eReaders, Size, PPI, Price
Kindle Paperwhite, 6”, 300ppi, $119 w/ads $169 w/o ads
Nook Glowlight, 6”, 212ppi, $99

Rumor has it that Apple will be releasing a so-called “Pro” model in the fall. That 12.9″ model is rumored to have a 2732×2048 display, which works out to 263ppi.

I didn’t include the Microsoft Surface because they really don’t seem to want TNM to write about the tablet, so I won’t.

Amazon’s new model of the Paperwhite, as I mentioned, raises the resolution to 300ppi. That’s an interesting number, at least if you are an art director. For years the resolution of submitted artwork has been 300 dpi – not because that is the resolution of printing, but that was the resolution printers wanted (twice the resolution of the final printed product).

As you can see, 300ppi is not really a magic number when it comes to tablets and eReaders simply because displays work so differently than print – that is, light versus ink.

But fans of eReaders will like the upgrade to the Paperwhite. Most people I know that own one love it. Now, if only they would stop with the ads or no ads builds.

Here is Amazon’s announcement:

SEATTLE, Wash. – June 17, 2015 — 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 at www.amazon.com/paperwhite.

Kindle_Paperwhite-newWe love inventing for readers,” said Jeff Bezos, Amazon.com Founder and CEO. “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, Highest Resolution Paperwhite Display—300 Pixels per Inch for Laser-Quality Text

The new Kindle Paperwhite adds our highest resolution Paperwhite display, delivering the same 300 pixels per inch that readers love about the top-of-the-line Kindle Voyage. With unsurpassed resolution and 2x the pixels as the previous generation Kindle Paperwhite, the display delivers laser-quality text, making it easy to read comfortably at any font size, including at smaller fonts so you can fit more words on each page. Even with the new higher resolution display, Kindle Paperwhite delivers battery life that is measured in weeks rather than hours.

New Bookerly Font and Typography Features—Read Faster With Less Eyestrain

Kindle Paperwhite now offers Bookerly, an exclusive font designed from the ground up for reading on digital screens. Warm and contemporary, Bookerly is inspired by the artistry of the best fonts in modern print books, but is hand-crafted for great readability at any size. It introduces a lighter, more graceful look and outperforms other digital reading fonts to help customers read faster with less eyestrain. See Bookerly: www.amazon.com/bookerly.

The new Kindle Paperwhite also offers an all-new typesetting engine that lays out words just as the author intended:

  • Hyphenation and improved spacing—Kindle Paperwhite adds hyphenation to break words at the right place, creates paragraphs with consistent lines, and adjusts the space between words. This results in more natural word spacing and more words on each page, which allows for faster reading with less eyestrain. See an example: www.amazon.com/hyphenation.
  • Improved character placement—New kerning and ligatures automatically adjust character spacing to make it easier and faster to recognize words at any font size. Similar to a typesetter formatting a print book, Kindle Paperwhite will look at neighboring pairs of letters in context and adjust the character spacing to suit the word, removing distracting whitespace between letters and making the shape of the word more beautiful to help with word recognition speed. For example, in the word “quietly”, the tail of the “y” loops under the “l” to make the letters of the word fit better together. In the word “first”, the “f” and “i” are drawn together to make a ligature. See an example: www.amazon.com/characterspacing.


  • Beautiful page layout—Print books often use drop caps to add emphasis and beauty to the first page of a chapter. In eBooks, this is challenging to replicate given the ability to adjust font size and line spacing. The new typesetting engine presents drop caps, text, and images on Kindle just as the author intended, and dynamically adjusts the layout as the reader changes the text size. See an example: www.amazon.com/dropcaps.
  • Large fonts, without compromises—One of the benefits of reading on Kindle is that you can customize the font size based on personal preference—over half of Kindle customers take advantage of this feature and use a font size larger than the default. As you increase the size of a font, fewer words appear on each page, often creating distractions like large white space or broken sentences. Now, Kindle Paperwhite automatically adapts when a reader chooses the largest font sizes, customizing the margins, columns, indents, nested lists, borders, and drop caps to keep the page easy to read. See an example: www.amazon.com/largefonts.

The new typography and layout improvements are available on over half a million books, including many best sellers, with thousands more being added every week. The features will be delivered as part of a free, over-the-air software update in the coming weeks.

Lose Yourself in a Book

Unlike tablets and phones, dedicated e-readers don’t distract you with social media, emails, and text messages. They don’t beep at you or tire your eyes when you read for hours at a time. By design, e-readers are purpose-built for reading and create a sanctuary so you can lose yourself in a book.

All the Features Readers Love about Kindle

The new Kindle Paperwhite includes all of the features that have made the Kindle family the best-selling e-readers in the world for seven years running:

  • Weeks of battery life—Battery life is measured in weeks, not hours.
    No set up required—Kindle arrives pre-registered so you can start reading immediately.
  • Whispersync—Saves and synchronizes your last page read, bookmarks, and annotations across all of your devices and Kindle apps, so you can always pick up where you left off.
  • Worry-free archive—Automatically backs up your Kindle books in the cloud, so you never need to worry about losing your books—re-download your books wirelessly anytime for free.
  • Goodreads—Kindle is integrated with the world’s largest site for readers and book recommendations, with over 40 million members, 1.1 billion books added, and 43 million book reviews.
  • X-Ray—Explore the “Bones of the Book”—see all of the passages across a book that mention relevant ideas, fictional characters, historical figures, places or topics of interest.
  • Word Wise—Available on many popular English language titles, Word Wise makes it easier to enjoy and quickly understand more challenging books. Short and simple definitions automatically appear above difficult words, so you can keep reading with fewer interruptions.
  • Family Library—With Kindle and Kindle reading apps, you can access not only your own books, but also books from the Amazon account of a spouse or partner.
  • Kindle FreeTime—Gives parents a simple, engaging way to encourage kids to spend more time reading. Hand-select books for your kids to read, and achievement badges are earned when they hit reading milestones.
  • Time to Read—Tells you how much time it will take to finish a chapter or a book based on your personalized reading speed.
  • Kindle Page Flip—Skim page-by-page, scan by chapter, or jump to anywhere in your book, all without losing your place.
  • Vocabulary Builder—Compiles words you look up in the dictionary into an easy-to-access list. Use these lists to quiz yourself with flashcards and instantly see words in context.
  • Share your favorite passages—Share book recommendations, highlighted sections, and meaningful quotes with friends via Facebook and Twitter.
  • Smart Lookup—Integrates a full dictionary definition with other reference information via X-Ray and Wikipedia.

World’s Best eBook Store

Kindle e-readers come with instant access to the Kindle Store, which includes:

  • Massive selection—Millions of books, newspapers and magazines, including the latest best sellers, Kindle Singles, and more.
  • Kindle exclusives—Over 800,000 books are exclusive to the Kindle Store.
    Lowest book prices—Over a million titles are $2.99 or less, over 2 million are $9.99 or less.
  • Kindle Unlimited—Enjoy unlimited reading of over 800,000 books and unlimited listening to a selection of thousands of audiobooks for just $9.99 a month.
  • Kindle First—Access new Kindle books a month in advance of their official release date. Customers can choose one of the featured books each month for $1.99, and Prime members can make their selection for free—yet another benefit of Prime membership.

The new Kindle Paperwhite is $119. It is available for pre-order around the world and will start shipping June 30. Order now at www.amazon.com/paperwhite.

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