Can Kindle Save Newspapers?

This was written for my new website at WriteThru.

While the easy-to-read flat screens now being sold by Amazon are definitely a step in the right direction, technology can only save an industry if the revenue model makes sense.

Consider these drawbacks:

  1. Consumers either have to pony up $489 to buy one of the devices OR sign up for a lengthy subscription to get a discounted device, reports the Los Angeles Times.
  2. Amazon wants 70 percent of the subscription revenue from newspaper sales, reports Endgadget. Worse: Amazon also gets permission to republish content on other devices, such as the iphone.
  3. If consumers must buy multiple subscriptions – ranging from $5.99 to $13.99 a month – to get news from EACH source, which content companies will be left out in the cold? Perhaps local news providers?
  4. Do the math: News producers will get only $1.7 to $4.197 a month if they’re getting only 30 percent of the revenue.

  • Will aggregators emerge, drawing still more profit away from news producers?
  • Why would a consumer pay for these subscriptions if they also have to eventually navigate advertising?
  • As slimmer, more colorful devices come out over the next year, I suspect many consumers will use the devices to read the free articles on the web rather than pay a subscription fee. That’s what I would do. Free almost always wins in an economic downturn.
  • As any Apple follower will tell you, the way to make money off new content-delivery devices is to own the hardware and control the content. It sounds to me that Amazon is following this model, while leaving news producers out in the cold.

    So I nervously laugh when I read that New York Times Publisher Arthur Sulzberger Jr.’s shouted “Wonderful!” at the unveiling of the large-screen Kindle DX. As much as I believe that simple readers are the wave of the future, the product might do as much damager to newspaper companies as did Google News and Craigslist.

    One thought on “Can Kindle Save Newspapers?

    1. Britax Decathlon

      I don’t know if all will have the budget for Kindle but this will surely be a bell ringer for the newspaper companies. But if we will be thinking for the advancement of news, Kindle will be the future.


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