Tuesday, June 16, 2009

The Kindle: a Progress Report

Well, I’m one month into Kindle fandom.

My biggest gripe is that it doesn’t work outside the U.S., and as that's where I spend 200 days a year, this is a limiting, irritating problem.

Having got that out of the way, I’m 30 days into my Kindle II. So far, I’m focused on its newspaper application. It’s a huge hit. I download The Times and The Independent every day and neither of these are easy to find in the United States. I think Jeff Bezos may have found and secured the future of newspapers. To paraphrase an ex-President, “it’s the news, not the paper, stupid”. Kindle delivers the news to me at 4:00am every day. It is easy to read, easy to absorb, zero hassle, and takes up no space. The latest Kindle DX is a large screen e-reader which is designed to optimize the presentation of newspapers. I might try it eventually but the portability of the Kindle II is of more use to me at the moment.

With the Kindle II is the ability to re-invent the newspaper business. For a start, it eliminates all the printing and distribution costs that are absolutely not fundamental to the consumer experience. The device itself needs work. It is crude and basic in its present form, and lacking a backlight and video, but it delivers.

The costs are reasonable and represents priceless value in terms of availability, ease of access, and reliability. It also explodes the myth of newspapers having to give away content free on the Web. People will pay.

I haven’t yet dipped my toes into the long form downloading of the 285,000 e-books available on Amazon.com. That's for next month.


gvn said...

Given that newspapers are about the news, not the paper, then that says to no that publishing is no longer constrained by the need to get a payback on a publication - there are virtually no incremental costs associated with publication and accessibility for documents - books , papers, etc. That being the case, the Kindle becomes the enabler for a Publishing Model that enables, as its promise, the ability for ANYTHING to be published and made available to Kindle owners. The publisher get first rights to marketing related incomes and story/media extension (the film, the sequel, the game etc etc) and to advertising on the "FreePub" website. Sustainable, enabling and income bearing. What do you think?

PS: There is a similar story awaiting the music industry if you think about it - taking the music industry back to its source of value - creativity rather than Marketing to justify cost exposure.

eilish said...

if it is about the news and not the newspaper why do we have allegiance to the independent over the guardian, or the times? is it not about how the news is reported (the quality, integrity and style of journalism) that drives these brands. again your lovemarks analogy

the same may be said for the music industry it may drive the power away from the producers/newspaper owners towards the individual but it does come back to content every time

Moey said...

I wish it worked outside the US, specially here in the MENA region where everyone is all bout gadgets.

Jr. Art Director
Saatchi & Saatchi Amman, Jordan.