image The Kindle DX has a larger screen than earlier Kindles and can natively handle PDFs. But it costs $489, not $359, the price of the Kindle 2.

Will piracy be the new Kindle’s savior—justifying its purchase by students who might otherwise avoid it?

Over at TechCrunch, Jason Kincaid answers yes. I’m not quite as sure. $489 is a pretty hefty upfront investment, and if you can pay that much, you just might also want to buy books legally (a point I’m hardly the first to make). But then again, cash-strapped students in many situations must spend so much for books that the economics might still justify the piracy.

Needed: New biz models in textbook biz

Isn’t this one more argument for textbook publishers changing business models and leaning on universities to build book costs into tuition? That would be more effective than DRM as a revenue preserver. Perhaps tuition could reflect the kinds of courses taken.

If the universities won’t try these innovations on their own, maybe it’s time for legislation. The copyright interests have often succeeded in using legislation to force universities to deal with file-sharing. Perhaps they should do the same when it comes to business models. Same for the copyright interests in other countries.

Of course, perhaps the ultimate solution would be a national digital library system in the TeleRead vein, with fair compensation for textbook publishers and other content providers.

Related: $243 for Sony e-book on Balzac’s short fiction? But wait! How about the $6.4K Kindle nuclear engineering e-book? and New York City kids fall in love with SELF-published novels approved by local board of ed.