Monday, May 4, 2009

Can Kindle Rescue Newspapers & Magazines?

Will Kindle be able to rescue the newspaper and magazine industries, the way that iPod rescued the music industry?

We'll get an inkling this week when Amazon introduces a larger format version of its book-reader gadget that's designed to enable users to see their favorite publications exactly as they would have appeared on the printed page -- but without the print or the (paper) page.

(A number of periodical publishers, including Hearst magazines and the News Corporation, have announced that they've got their own proprietary e-reader devices in the works.)

Kindle's current six-inch black-and-white model offers paid subscriptions to about five dozen newspapers and magazines, but functionality is limited -- and certainly less than what you can get for free on each publication's own Website. (The Kindle itself cost a whopping $359.)

So we eagerly await this next-generation version to find out how Amazon plans to lure that endangered species known as "subscribers" to actually pay for what they've gotten used to receiving for free.

Still to be determined is whether Amazon's newest Kindle will enable viewers to enjoy the high quality videojournalism that print publications are increasingly producing -- and just about the only truly unique content that a publication can reasonably expect viewers to pay for.

What do you think? Can you imagine perusing your favorite newspapers and magazines on a 10-oz. wireless electronic screen that's the same size as a magazine page? Remember -- that one portable page can potentially "contain" all your favorite subscriptions, updated daily! What would it take for you to convert? Would video capability make a difference for you?


Wieland Willker said...

I would probably do it if I would get the device for free.
Paying? No.
My hometown newspaper is bad (Bremen, Germany).
I normally just skim the headlines.

The real innovation would be to deliver the time, one needs to read everything, too!

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