While a great deal of effort has been put into supporting a supposed opposition between eReaders like the Kindle and traditional paper publications, there are some places where paper just wasn’t really cutting it even before the eReader came along. Specifically, I’m thinking about newspapers. It’s practically become a cliche to point out that most people get their news from the internet these days, when they aren’t just watching TV, because why wait until tomorrow to learn what’s happening today? Deciding what needs to be done for traditional news vendors to stay relevant will probably be difficult, but it seems inevitable that things like the Kindle will play a large part.
Now, I can’t claim that this is a new thought, exactly. The New York Times has found what appears to be one method for making the most of new technology. Kindle subscribers, as well as Nook subscribers and anybody who wants to pay to get this benefit a la carte, can not only get their regular issues delivered but access the paper’s website in its entirety without any of the annoying restrictions that the average non-subscriber has to put up with. While they have seen a decline in overall subscribers and ad revenue recently, the NYT reports a noticeable jump in Kindle subscribers. There would seem to be other options, though. There practically have to be since not every paper can leverage the kind of reputation that the NYT brings to the market.
My favorite theoretical idea, which I admittedly have no idea as to the practicality of, is inspired by the Barnes & Noble in store Nook experience. Location based subscriptions that allow access to a publication or collection of publications, especially local ones, while on the premises. It offers the same sort of benefits to the business doing the subscribing that having paper copies on hand would, which is not uncommon in coffee shops, libraries, etc, but without the bulk, waste, opportunity for damage, or potentially outdated news. Just bring your Kindle or Nook in and read your paper over a drink.
Ideas aside, since as I mentioned I can’t really judge the practicality of the many approaches that are available, one of the biggest issues will probably be a change in mindset. Newspapers are traditionally reliant on their advertising revenue. On something like a Kindle, you don’t have nearly as much space for that, even if you have an eReader-specific edition of your paper. The native web browser even offers an impressively effective Article Mode that will remove them from anything a reader happens to be looking through on a paper’s website. It isn’t like this is unique, given ad blocking extensions available for pretty much every web browser on the market. About the only place that people are forced to look at ads when they don’t want to anymore is on paper. It is a complicated problem, but the Kindle offers more potential than most options. Something like the WOWIO eBook advertisement wrapping around a daily package of news delivery might just do the trick?
There’s no doubt in anybody’s mind at this point that Kindle eBooks are here to stay, right? I mean, I’m pretty sure we’ve made that point before, so why dwell on it? Well, think for a minute how many people have traditionally done most of their reading in things besides books. Obviously magazines and newspapers are an impressively large market to extend the concept into. Amazon(NASDAQ:AMZN), similar to B&N and others, has been making a push to get a hold on this new market. We’ve recently seen a rather extensive update to the Kindle Magazine marketplace in the form of Kindle for Android compatibility updates.
The Kindle for Android app, in addition to and much like the Kindle device itself , now allows its users to subscribe to over a hundred different periodicals and newspapers through the Amazon site. The basic format is nice, and pretty well suited to the devices most likely to be displaying these publications. It is primarily text-based, of course, which works out really well given the small amount of screen real estate you’re dealing with. Images such as those you’d see on the existing Kindle publications are still included, but now they’re in color. As is not at all surprising, magazines and color get along well. Subscriptions come automatically delivered to your device, and you can even sign up for more material through the built-in store right in the app itself. The implementation isn’t disappointing in the slightest in spite of the transition to a small screen by what has long been a fairly large-format type of publication.
This update could be seen, in many ways, as a response to the recently released Nook Color eReader. While many reports (and I’ll admit that my own experience supports this and might add slightly to the bias here) indicate that the screen is anywhere from mediocre to horrible for lengthy book reading, the full color screen and quick refresh rate make it perfect for quick reads like magazines, recipe books, and kids books. Since Amazon doesn’t have a similar product on the market right now, they can at least allow for development of their marketplace by capitalizing on the abilities of the many Android based devices that have sprung up left and right since the dawn of the Tablet PC marketplace. Not a bad idea to be having.
It’s fairly widely perceived to be inevitable that Amazon will eventually come up with a full color eReader display for future Kindle releases, so this will also hopefully go some way toward having a fleshed-out marketplace ready for the new capabilities. I don’t mean to deride the capabilities of the Kindle device in the slightest, it’s the best for what it does by a fair margin in my opinion, but there’s just something lacking in the magazine presentation on the existing eInk screen. If you’re an Android user, give it a try. Amazon offers a fair selection of magazines to grab in free trial to see if this is something you’d be interested in. Chances are good that you won’t be disappointed.
On October 22nd, Amazon(NASDAQ:AMZN) announced that they will be adding a bit of expanded functionality to their Kindle reading platform. Much as book are currently able to be shared between devices on the same account, regardless of hardware choice, so shall magazine and newspapers be, at least in theory! So subscribers will simply have access to their periodicals wherever they may be, if all goes well. There are two sides to this situation, however.
While it greatly expands availability, and therefore saleability, for publications currently lacking an online distribution system, it can mean direct competition for others. Take the New York Times(NYSE:NYT) for example. They’ve spent a lot of time and man-hours getting their iPad application off the ground, from what I’ve heard. It seems pretty unlikely that they will be wanting to negate all that effort by simply letting Amazon expand subscriptions purchased for Kindles to iPad owners. Still, Amazon says they will allow publishers to opt-out, so perhaps that will negate the issue. It is certainly an option that many organizations will have to weigh carefully, since it will almost certainly have bearing on the decision of future customers to purchase Kindle-based subscriptions in hopes of staying up to date on a daily basis. Regardless of publisher dilemmas, this does clear up an annoying issue with the current subscription setup. It doesn’t make a lot of sense for your average commuter to be denied the ability to check their morning paper just because today they’re using their Kindle app instead of the device itself.
The first devices to see this new feature will be those running Kindle-for-iOS, but Android users should see it soon as well. The stated vision of the company, “Buy Once, Read Everywhere”, would be great for readers and we can only hope that it comes soon and works well. It would be nice to see availability in spite of potential complications with independently developed applications, but only time will tell.
This week two new newspapers make it onto the Kindle – they are both British newspapers. The Times, which I don’t know an awful lot about, and the Financial Times which I adore and consider to be one of the best newspapers in the world.
The Times was first published in 1785 and is now owned by Rupert Murdoch’s News Corporation. The Financial Times has been in print since 1888 and its biggest competitor is The Wall Street Journal, while The Wall Street Journal has the higher subscription numbers, in my opinion the Financial Times has the superior content – I should know, Iv had it delivered to my home for the past four years.
The Times and the Financial Times bring the total numbers of newspapers on the Kindle to 24. Its been about 9 months since Kindle was released and I am a bit disappointed to see that only 24 newspapers have jumped onto the Kindle – 15 US based and 9 International newspapers. The USA Today currently has the widest circulation of any newspaper in the United States with 2.25 million copies per weekday, however it has yet to make an appearance on the Kindle. We need more newspapers on the Kindle!
As usual, a 14-day free trial is available for both newspapers.
The Times (Kindle Edition)
The Times is one of the world’s leading newspapers respected internationally for its news, comment and analysis. The aim of The Times is to provide its readers with strong news reporting combined with thoughtful and insightful opinions on the main issues of the day. Whether dealing with politics, business, foreign affairs, the arts, or sport, The Times offers the most comprehensive coverage. It has an outstanding global network of reporters as well as must-read columnists such as Matthew Parris, Gerard Baker, Caitlin Moran, Giles Coren and Anatole Kaletsky.
The Kindle Edition of The Times contains articles found in the print edition, but will not include some images and tables. Also, some features such as the crossword puzzle, box scores and classifieds are not currently available. For your convenience, issues are automatically delivered wirelessly to your Kindle so you can read them each morning.
Financial Times (Kindle Edition)
The Financial Times, one of the world’s leading business media organizations, is recognized globally for its authority, integrity and accuracy. The Financial Times provides a 360-degree perspective on global business and geopolitical news by harnessing a worldwide network of award-winning journalists who deliver extensive news, comment and analysis. The Financial Times is much more than a business newspaper, it is an intelligent and stimulating read covering everything from in depth art reviews to new discoveries in food and wine and interviews with the day’s luminaries. The Financial Times has an unrivaled collection of columnists, including Tyler Brûlé, Anthony Bolton, Clive Crook, Niall Ferguson, John Gapper, Robin Lane-Fox, Gideon Rachman, Jancis Robinson, Merryn Somerset-Webb, Philip Stevens, Lawrence H. Summers, Gillian Tett and Martin Wolf.
The US Kindle Edition of Financial Times contains most articles found in the US print edition, but will not include tables, charts and stock quotes. For your convenience, issues are automatically delivered wirelessly to your Kindle so you can read them each morning. The Financial Times US Edition is published Monday through Saturday.
It was announced today on the official Amazon Kindle blog that the Chicago Tribune will be available in the Kindle newspapers section for download. This brings the total number of newspapers on the Kindle to 21 and as always there is a free 14-day free trial.
Chicago Tribune (Kindle Edition)
With the Chicago Tribune, you’ll have everything you need to stay informed. Whether it’s Chicagoland, national or world news–the Chicago Tribune has it all. The Chicago Tribune’s Pulitzer-Prize winning journalists provide all of the coverage and features you need to start your day off right.
The Kindle Edition of The Chicago Tribune contains articles found in the print edition, but will not include some images and tables. Also, some features and sections such as Chicago Tribune Magazine, the crossword puzzle, Parade magazine, box scores and classifieds are not currently available. For your convenience, issues are automatically delivered wirelessly to your Kindle so you can read them each morning.
Source: official Amazon Kindle blog, Chicago Tribune product page
Today Amazon announced that the Los Angeles Times will be the latest newspaper available for download on the Kindle, it joins The International Herald Tribune which was added a few days ago. This brings the total number of newspapers on the Kindle up to 20.
Amazon made the announcement on the official Amazon Kindle blog. Be sure to sign up for the 14-days free trial.
Los Angeles Times (Kindle Edition)
The Los Angeles Times is the largest metropolitan daily newspaper in the country, with a daily readership of 2.2 million and 3.2 million on Sunday, and a combined print and interactive weekly audience of 4.8 million. The Pulitzer Prize-winning Los Angeles Times, has been covering Southern California for over 126 years and is part of Tribune Company, one of the country’s leading media companies with businesses in publishing, the Internet and broadcasting.
The Kindle Edition of Los Angeles Times contains articles found in the print edition, but will not include some images and tables. Also, some features such as the crossword puzzle, box scores and classifieds are not currently available. For your convenience, issues are automatically delivered wirelessly to your Kindle so you can read them each morning.
The International Herald Tribune (Kindle Edition)
The International Herald Tribune collects and distributes world news, information, entertainment and opinion of the highest journalistic integrity. Its balanced perspective addresses all areas of human interest and is trusted and enjoyed by people in all corners of the globe.
The Kindle Edition of International Herald Tribune contains most articles found in the print edition, but will not include some images and tables. Some features such as the crossword puzzle, box scores and classifieds are not currently available. Also, please note that International Herald Tribune features a combined weekend edition on Saturday, and therefore does not publish on Sundays. For your convenience, issues are automatically delivered wirelessly to your Kindle so you can read them each morning.