Amazon announces Paperwhite 3 with exciting new…um…

Amazon announces Paperwhite 3 with exciting new…um…

I love my Kindle Paperwhite 2.

In fact, I didn’t “upgrade” to the top of the line Kindle Voyage because I’m more than satisfied with what I have.

The Voyage is only one of two Kindle models I haven’t owned (the large-screen Kindle DX is the other one).

So, when Amazon e-mailed me to let me know about the new release (pre-order for June 30th) Kindle Paperwhite 3:

All-New Kindle Paperwhite, 6″ High-Resolution Display (300 ppi) with Built-in Light, Wi-Fi – Includes Special Offers (at AmazonSmile: benefit a non-profit of your choice by shopping*)

I went right to the product page to see what they’ve done to justify a new generation…partially for you, my readers, and partially to see if I might want to upgrade.

Well, my assessment is…this is evolutionary, not revolutionary.

It has a better screen (same 300 pixels per inch as the Voyage…that has to do with how “sharp” it looks).

It gets the new Bookerly font, and a new “typesetting engine”. They feature these elements of that improvement:

  • Hyphenation and improved spacing
  • Improved character placement (better kerning! ligatures!)
  • “Beautiful page layout”
  • Large fonts, without compromises

Sure, all of that will make for a better reading experience. For those who use the largest font size, it may be significantly better.

When we see the inevitable questions in the Amazon forum about, “Is it worth upgrading?” my feeling is that for most people, getting rid of a PW2 for a PW3 is probably unnecessary.

However, for people who are getting a first EBR (E-Book Reader), or if you just need to get another one (and maybe your “old” PW2 is staying in the family), you will get more for the money ($119 for the least expensive version…the same price as the PW2).

I know some (but not most) of you have been skimming this article to see if they added text-to-speech (TTS…software that reads a book out loud to you), the answer is no.

Still no audio capabilities (which might have induced me to get the new one).

Comparing the features, there is an obvious question: why buy the

Kindle Voyage (any configuration) (at AmazonSmile: benefit a non-profit of your choice by shopping*)

for $80 more (which is one dollar more than the cost of the lowest priced Kindle…you could get two Kindles, including one with a built-in light, for the price of a Voyage)?

The Voyage is a bit lighter and smaller, it has light-sensing technology, and it has “page press” (which lets you less intrusively change to the next page).

It’s quite possible they are also going to “refresh” the Voyage, although it will continue to sell because it is the top of the line (that, in and of itself, has a value).

Might they add TTS to a refresh of the Voyage? We have to be honest and say that really adds cost if you are going to have onboard speakers, and changes the use profile considerably (since it would presumably also add music and audiobooks). I think a wearable for music, audiobooks, and TTS is a possibility. No screen for sight-reading, and  perhaps Bluetooth for the audio.

I can see that working. I would guess it could even be a ring (people’s wrists are getting busy). Hmm…maybe Bluetooth it to a Fire TV to have a screen interface for complex content management, and voice recognition for the simple stuff (“Read Alice in Wonderland”) or a simple content selection display on the ring. Bluetoothing to headphones (I’d use it with my ARCTIC P324 BT (Black) – Bluetooth (V4.0) Headset with Neckband – Headphones with integrated Microphone – Perfect for Sport (at AmazonSmile*), for example) and speakers would probably also be necessary.

Just to be clear, this is a good thing. You get more for the same price. That will benefit first time EBR buyers, people having to replace an older model, someone buying a gift, or if you are just expanding your fleet of devices.

This is coming out after Fathers’ Day (it can be pre-ordered before), which seems a bit odd. I was going to say that this was likely to be the only EBR announcement before Fathers’ Day from Amazon, and it might be…

Here is the

Press Release

Bonus deal: one of today’s Kindle Daily Deals (at AmazonSmile: benefit a non-profit of your choice by shopping*) is

The Secret Garden (Michael Hague Signature Classics) (at AmazonSmile*)

for $1.99 (instead of $3.99).

This is a true children’s classic, with a justifiably lauded illustrator.

Remember again (re-remember? 😉 ) that you can buy it for this price as a gift, and delay the delivery until the appropriate gift-giving occasion. This might be a great gift for a child…or for an adult who loved it as a child.

It is also available through

Kindle Unlimited (at AmazonSmile: benefit a non-profit of your choice by shopping*)

What do you think? Will this new Paperwhite make you upgrade? Does it make it more likely that you’ll buy one as a gift? How important is TTS to you? What other EBR (or other hardware, besides the Echo) will Amazon introduce this year? Feel free to tell me and my readers what you think by commenting on this post.

Join thousands of readers and try the free ILMK magazine at Flipboard!

* I am linking to the same thing at the regular Amazon site, and at AmazonSmile. When you shop at AmazonSmile, half a percent of your purchase price on eligible items goes to a non-profit you choose. It will feel just like shopping at Amazon: you’ll be using your same account. The one thing for you that is different is that you pick a non-profit the first time you go (which you can change whenever you want)…and the good feeling you’ll get. :) Shop ’til you help! :) 

This post by Bufo Calvin originally appeared in the I Love My Kindle blog. To support this or other blogs/organizations, buy  Amazon Gift Cards from a link on the site, then use those to buy your items. There will be no cost to you, and a benefit to them.


27 Responses to “Amazon announces Paperwhite 3 with exciting new…um…”

  1. Evelynne Says:

    Hmmmmmm. Really doesn’t seem much added value.

  2. Evelynne Says:

    I did notice though that this new Paperwhite is available in Canada

    • Bufo Calvin Says:

      Thanks for writing, Evelynne!

      Yes…$139 Canadian. 🙂 Same release date, June 30th.

      I agree with your other assessment…there is some more value, but not a lot. However, since it’s more at no more cost, that’s a positive. 🙂

  3. Phink Says:

    I wonder if the 300 DPI is worth the upgrade? I have no idea. If the font truly looks better than to me it’s worth the extra $139. That’s the price for me because I like no ads in KBR’s. The reason is I keep them in a case that automatically turns the device on when opened. I don’t want to have to swipe after opening a case. Get rid of the ads and no swipe is required.

    Do you think the extra DPI’s would make much of a difference?

    • Bufo Calvin Says:

      Thanks for writing, Phink!

      Well, the difference without the Special Offers is only $20…you pay $139 rather than $119.

      It should be about half again as sharp, since I think it was 212 PPI before. Is that going to be noticeable? I would guess so, but I suspect it will be affected by your vision and by the size font you prefer.

      Amazon does have that thirty-day return policy…in this case, you’d be expected to pay return shipping, since the device would be working as advertised. That would likely be a few dollars.

  4. Lady Galaxy Says:

    I hope that the inclusion of “justification” in the description of the typesetting engine means that the reader has some control over whether to view the book in full justification or left justification or centered or however the reader prefers. If it gets rid of those ugly snaggletoothed gaps in text that now occur with larger fonts, then I would definitely be worth it. Full justification may make the text look more like a paper book, but it looks awful on the larger font sizes because in books that use big words, you can end up with one word lined up with the right margin and another lined up with the left margin and a huge gap of space between the two big words.

    I’m wondering if some of the improved text handling could be included in an update for the Voyage?

    I can’t tell if it supports active content. To me, that was a major downgrade in the Voyage. Amazon may consider the Voyage to be top of the line, but to me it was a major mistake!

    I think I’ll wait for the reviews to come out, but I may buy one and give the Voyage to a friend. If I do buy one and realize I don’t like it, I will definitely send it back. I’m still mad at myself for letting the return deadline on the Voyage slip by me!

    • Bufo Calvin Says:

      Thanks for writing, Lady!

      I don’t know if the user will be able to select justification or not. The link on the product page to the User Guide takes you to the guide for the current model, the PW2, not this new model.

      You can see a bit more on the new typesetting engine here:

      I would guess that the new typesetting engine will be made available for the Voyage…that doesn’t require a change in hardware, I assume.

      I don’t see any evidence that it would do Active Content (games and apps for the Amazon EBRs…E-Book Readers, as opposed to tablets like the Fire). My intuition, unfortunately, is that Amazon is done with that for the future. With a quick look, I’m not seeing that there is one labeled “Kindle Active Content” (there are books labeled as “Active Content” which I think actually means “Active Table of Contents”) in the past couple of years.

      • Lady Galaxy Says:

        I did a search for “Kindle Active Content” from my K3, and it brought up lots of games and apps that are still available, but I didn’t see anything new.

      • Bufo Calvin Says:

        Thanks for writing, Lady!

        Yes, that’s what I saw, too. They still have ones available that were released before, but Amazon doesn’t seem to be adding any more.

    • Tom Semple Says:

      It’s been at least 3 years since there were any new Active Content apps, and that means there is no longer a Kindle developer program or any way to update the apps for the higher resolution screens. So no Active Content for PW3.

      Likewise I don’t see any signs that we will be able to turn off hyphenation or choose full-justified vs left justified text. With the iOS app (which was the first to see the typographic enhancements), if you have large enough font, it will switch to left-justified mode. So I expect something similar will happen on Kindle.

      I believe Amazon stated that the current models (Kindle Touch, PW2 and Voyage) will be updated for the improved typography.

      I think it is reasonable to expect that Kindle Touch and Voyage should have price drops if there are no hardware enhancements this year.

  5. Edward Boyhan Says:

    I did see on the Amazon product page that the new justification engine will be coming as a S/W update — so presumably this could be made available for other kindles — most likely for the Voyage as high ppi makes good fine-grained justification possible.

    I spend over four hours/day on my PW2, and even though my PW2 is not yet a year old, I’m seriously considering getting the PW3 — the price isn’t that much, and every little bit of help for the old peepers is not to be sneezed at.

    All my other Kindles have come w special offers (save the KDX); for the PW3, I’m seriously considering going without.

    If I do get it, it will be my seventh kindle (:Grin).

  6. CatReader Says:

    I don’t plan to buy another Kindle (or Fire) until Amazon introduces something with Paperwhite style display and sound, supporting TTS and audio files. The speakers don’t need to be any larger, sharper, or louder than they were on the earlier Kindles. The exception would be to purchase a replacement if one if my existing devices fails.

    • Bufo Calvin Says:

      Thanks for writing, CatReader!

      I definitely would like to see an EBR (E-Book Reader) with TTS (text-to-speech), but I’m also always open to Amazon surprising me with something I hadn’t considered. 🙂

  7. Phink Says:

    Well I’m about as wishy washy as a dish rag LOL. I ordered it, cancelled the order, and am itching to order again. I am kind of like Edward Boyhan when he said “every little bit of help for the old peepers is not to be sneezed at.” The last time I had my eyes checked (roughly 15 years ago) my eyes were either 12/20 or 20/12. Whichever is good. The Doc said what someone with 20/20 vision could see at 12 feet I could see at 20 feet. I have had eyes like a hawk for my entire life until a few months ago. My eyes in the last 5-6 months have severely gone downhill and I have no idea why or how it could happen so fast. I’m 49 and getting old I guess. So, perhaps I could read off the screen better than the PW2.

    This is off subject but something Bufo or others might find interesting speaking of eyesight. I once had a conversation with an eye doctor. I said something like “it seems half of adults, maybe more, need glasses. Are that many people’s eyes really that bad or are we too picky and want our eyes to see perfectly so we get glasses?” His response was along the lines of “There is a theory that reading causes a lot of eye strain and that contributes quite a bit to so many needing glasses.” It’s been a long time ago but I think he said they have done studies in places where nobody reads and their eyesight if far superior to those in countries where a lot of people read. Considering I read my first book at 27 years old (22 years ago) perhaps that’s why my eyesight was so good. But, since my Dad (who has seriously never read a book in his life) did not need glasses until his late 60’s it could be genes or lack or reading or both. Who knows? Maybe his theory is hogwash, maybe not. I have no idea.

    • Bufo Calvin Says:

      Thanks for writing, Phink!

      As to reading and glasses…I’d have to see studies. We are reading differently, which could have an impact, but I don’t know which way it would go. smaller reading surfaces mean having to move your eyes less far…but more often. I don’t know enough to know.

      I would also want to see the variable controlled for backlit screens in addition to, say, p-book (paperbook) reading.Let’s put it this way: theory…or hypothesis?

      As to the vision numbers…20/40, for example, is worse than 20/20. The first number is your number, as I recall. So, with 20/40, you see at twenty feet what most people see at forty feet…you can’t see as well at the same distance.

  8. Phink Says:

    Just so you know what kind of a goofy person you are dealing with I wound up ordering the Paperwhite 3 three times. I ordered one but a few hours later cancelled it. I ordered another one a few days later but the next morning cancelled again. I ordered for the third time last night and today’s it’s shipped so no cancelling now. One minute I’m thinking $140 (no ads) is not a lot of money. Then, later I’m thinking I could buy about 1 3/4 shares of Exxon Mobile with that money. Does the new Paperwhite come with a quarterly dividend? Dividend or not I now have 3 paperwhites, the Mindle (I call it Mindle Finger because of the touch screen), and keyboard kindle. I really need to consider giving some away or turning WiFi off and using each one for one book at a time. In other words I’m currently reading 4 different books so I’d use 4 different kindles. I feel like a kindle hoarder.

    • Bufo Calvin Says:

      Thanks for writing, Phink!

      Reading is a dividend. 🙂

      I do read multiple books concurrently, but on only two devices. I read on my Kindle Fire HDX 7 and my Paperwhite 2…

      • Bufo Calvin Says:

        Oh, and I meant to add…you can donate “extra” Kindles, of course. There are quite a few places that will take them…just reset it to factory defaults first, typically.

  9. Phink Says:

    Let me ask you this. My perfect scenario with these extra kindles is to loan them to people who want to read a book I’ve got. I have always been reluctant to do that except for a very few people like siblings or a parent. The reason is because unless I’m mistaken they could order books with my kindle. Am I correct that there is no way to turn store purchases off on a kindle. I would risk never getting the kindle back. Again however, not to just anyone. The circle would broaden to a few co-workers and such. I’m more worried about book purchases than I am of losing my Mindle Finger LOL. I love that name for my least favorite kindle. Am I correct that I cannot turn store purchases off? How about downloading the book(s) they want to borrow and then de-registering the device? Is there anything unethical about that? I am one that does pay for his music and his books. No illegal PDF books on my computer or kindle. Do you think de-registering the device and loaning it to someone is cheating the author in some way?

    • Bufo Calvin Says:

      Thanks for writing, Phink!

      You can turn off purchasing on most models, so no problem there. We do that with our guest Kindle, for example. Generally, you can turn off purchasing and leave on downloads from your library, if you want (again, that’s our config for the guest Kindle).

      For the Paperwhites, it’s under Settings – Parental Controls.

      I think it’s in the same place for the Mindle Touch.

      I believe you can do exactly what you want. 🙂

  10. Phink Says:

    Oh I did not know that. Thanx for the lesson.

  11. Phink Says:

    After I learned one could block the store I told a lady I work with through a private facebook message she could borrow one of my kindles to read a book she has been dying to read after I told her the basic story. She is roughly 22 or 23 and has never heard of Jim Jones and Jonestown until this morning at work when it came up. I told her she could read my Kindle book ‘A Thousand Lives’ about Jones and his followers. By the way, it is an excellent book and I learned a great deal about that tragedy. The problem is I thought I read it but quickly realized I listened to it through Audible. I doubt she’d want to listen to it. Now I feel bad. But, not to worry. I looked and the hardcover is available at Amazon for 4 cents plus $3.99 shipping. I think I’m going to buy it and tell her when she’s finished to pass it on to someone else if she finds someone who wants to read it. Perhaps this $4.03 investment can enrich the lives of a few people if only for a few days at a time.

    Speaking of cheap hardcover books I want to tell your readers what I have been doing but am reluctant to do so as I don’t want anyone to think I’m bragging. Charity should be done in quite ways I believe. But, it’s a good idea I want to share. I have an elderly Aunt who refuses to even give the Kindle a try. It’s almost blasphemy. But, she loves to read. However, she is as poor as Job’s turkey and can’t afford to buy books very often and refuses to buy anything off the internet. About 1 1/2 years ago or so I started buying her a book each month. Most times a hardcover. I get them through Amazon and normally it only cost me $4-$5 on average. For a lousy $60 a year I can make her very happy every month. There are tons of hardcover books in very good condition for $3.99 shipping and a price tag of 1 cent to $1. Plenty for less than a dime. Most are in like new condition in my opinion. I ship them to her house from Amazon and the address is to: “McPhink Book of the Month Club c/o Aunt Martha”. All that barely fit. Great idea if anyone knows of others that can benefit from cheap dead tree books from Amazon.

    • Bufo Calvin Says:

      Thanks for writing, Phink!

      Jonestown is one of those examples of something where many people use a reference, but don’t know the original context. You can many times hear people (often jokingly) use the phrase “drink the Kool-Aid” (essentially meaning to blindly follow something) without an awareness of the connection to Jonestown.

      It’s interesting how phrases like that can resonate…

      • Edward Boyhan Says:

        I come across “drink the kool aid” often in the technology space — usually something like: “drink the Microsoft Kool-Aid” or “drink the Apple Kool-Aid” (that latter usually follows or precedes some comment about the “Apple reality distortion field” 😀 ).

        I’m well aware of the Jonestown saga, yet the “drink the Kool-Aid” mantra rolls off our lips these days with nary a thought to its gruesome origins.

  12. Robert Anderson Says:

    Do you see the Bookerly font and tech coming to the Voyage and older Paperwhites?

    • Bufo Calvin Says:

      Thanks for writing, Robert!

      It would just be speculation on my part. It would seem to me to be more likely to come to the Voyage than to the older Paperwhites.

      I would guess that some sort of improvement like that will come in the future to future models. Amazon has, perhaps surprisingly, continued to update models when newer generations of the same model have been released. Not always: the 2007 Kindle 1 model just wasn’t capable of taking many of the updates.

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