Friday, February 20, 2009

Amazon: Re-kindling the Newspaper Biz?

Amazon’s second foray into consumer electronics is a slimmed-down revision of its first. The Kindle 2 ($359) is a portable, networked electronic book reader. Or perhaps it’s a kind of tablet computer that happens to be obsessed with books, magazines, and newspapers. Regardless, it’s a powerful portent.

We know that newspapers are dropping like flies due to drops in both advertising revenue (bad economy, shift to online spending, failure of print media to deliver, craigslist) and subscriber revenue, which includes readers turning to non-traditional media, like blogs and online-only publications. But many former readers of print publications haven’t abandoned those periodicals; they’ve switched to reading the same publications online that they used to read on dead trees, and advertisers pay far less for their eyeballs there. Even with the cheaper cost of publishing online, a great number of online readers for primarily print publications can’t bridge the difference in revenue from lost subscribers.

Is the Kindle (and its ilk) the bridge from commercial print/digital hybrids to sustainable all-online publications? It’s certainly a bright spot in the future for the continued persistence of both readers of perishable content and for subscription revenue. [Click for MORE]

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