Amazon.com Inc. on Wednesday plans to unveil a new version of its Kindle e-book reader with a larger screen and other features designed to appeal to periodical and academic textbook publishers, according to people familiar with the matter.
Beginning this fall, some students at Case Western Reserve University in Cleveland will be given large-screen Kindles with textbooks for chemistry, computer science and a freshman seminar already installed, said Lev Gonick, the school's chief information officer.
The university plans to compare the experiences of students who get the Kindles and those who use traditional textbooks, he said.
Amazon has worked out a deal with several textbook publishers to make their materials available for the device, Gonick added. The new device will also feature a more fully functional Web browser, he said.
The Kindle's current model, which debuted in February, includes a Web browser that is classified as "experimental."
Five other universities are involved in the Kindle project, according to people briefed on the matter. They are Pace, Princeton, Reed, Darden School at the University of Virginia and Arizona State.
An Amazon spokesman declined comment. On Monday morning, the Seattle company sent out invitations to a press event to be held Wednesday at Pace University in New York City.