HOME
          
LATEST STORY
What are the boundaries of today’s journalism, and how is the rise of digital changing who defines them?
ABOUT                    SUBSCRIBE
June 16, 2009, 1:49 p.m.

Jeff Bezos pushes “competition” for Kindle hardware

As I’ve argued before, I think the Kindle’s success will be in providing a format and momentum for distributing books electronically — not in selling Amazon’s actual hardware devices, which I’d wager will never gain iPod-like market penetration. (I think it’ll lose out to multifunction devices like the mythical Apple tablet and to cell phones like the iPhone and Palm Pre.)

Now it appears Amazon’s Jeff Bezos is betting on something similar, promising a conference audience that he was happy to give his hardware people “competition” by putting Kindle-format books on “other mobile devices and other computing devices” at the same price as on the Kindle itself. As Gizmodo puts it, “either Bezos has something mysterious up his sleeve, or he’s come to terms with the fact that the Kindle — and indeed every dedicated e-reader — is essentially a stopgap device, awkwardly carrying out its single, simple task until something more versatile comes along.”

On the format front, Amazon is facing renewed competition, as it should when it’s taking a ridiculous 70 percent of revenue. But I have a lot more faith in the Kindle format beating out rivals than the kludgy Kindle device doing the same. Meanwhile, for newspapers counting on the Kindle as an economic savior, get ready for the same sort of platform-agnostic commoditization that drives content prices to zero.

POSTED     June 16, 2009, 1:49 p.m.
SHARE THIS STORY
   
Show comments  
Show tags
 
Join the 15,000 who get the freshest future-of-journalism news in our daily email.
What are the boundaries of today’s journalism, and how is the rise of digital changing who defines them?
In a new book, a group of academics look at how the big defining questions of the field — what is journalism? who is a journalist? who decides? — are changing.
Esquire has a cold: How the magazine is mining its archives with the launch of Esquire Classics
“We’re continuing our experiments with seeing what kinds of great archival stories people want to read and what formats seem to be most popular.”
The Atlantic redesigns, trading clutter and density for refinement
It wants to be a “real-time magazine” on the web, connected to its print heritage. But stripping out the visual noise won’t please everyone.
What to read next
2439
tweets
The Economist’s Tom Standage on digital strategy and the limits of a model based on advertising
“The Economist has taken the view that advertising is nice, and we’ll certainly take money where we can get it, but we’re pretty much expecting it to go away.”
579What USA Today Sports learned covering the Final Four on Periscope and Snapchat
These new platforms are optimized for realtime news on phones, but there are lots of questions for news organizations — from what content to share to how to measure their effectiveness.
410Journalists shouldn’t lose their rights in their move to private platforms
The shift to distributed content means concepts like fair use are increasingly in the hands of private companies — like SoundCloud.
These stories are our most popular on Twitter over the past 30 days.
See all our most recent pieces ➚
Fuego is our heat-seeking Twitter bot, tracking the links the future-of-journalism crowd is talking about most on Twitter.
Here are a few of the top links Fuego’s currently watching.   Get the full Fuego ➚
Encyclo is our encyclopedia of the future of news, chronicling the key players in journalism’s evolution.
Here are a few of the entries you’ll find in Encyclo.   Get the full Encyclo ➚
EveryBlock
American Public Media
Detroit Free Press and Detroit News
National Review
Facebook
E.W. Scripps
The Huffington Post
Topix
TBD
The Wall Street Journal
California Watch
National Journal