There are two money shots in Brad Stone’s report on a new Kindle coming this week with a larger screen designed specifically for reading newspapers and magazines. Here they are:
But it is Amazon, maker of the Kindle, that appears to be first in line to try throwing an electronic life preserver to old-media companies. As early as this week, according to people briefed on the online retailer’s plans, Amazon will introduce a larger version of its Kindle wireless device tailored for displaying newspapers, magazines and perhaps textbooks.
An Amazon spokesman would not comment, but some news organizations, including The New York Times, are expected to be involved in the introduction of the device, according to people briefed on the plans. A spokeswoman for The Times, Catherine J. Mathis, said she could not comment on the company’s relationship with Amazon.
First, we already knew that a larger Kindle was coming, so this news simply buttresses our original information with a modicum of fact. Then Stone notes that he talked to his own employer – the NYT – and they didn’t comment. As Joel at BBG writes, “HINT HINT!”
So we know it’s coming, but what does it mean? Using the Kindle for newspaper and magazine reading is an exciting proposition. Circulation numbers are down and the most expensive fixed cost of making a magazine is pretty much all the paper you have to buy. Writers come and go, but you still have to run the presses daily. Cut that out and you have a fascinating industry.
However, will people pay for the Kindle version of the NYT? In my limited experience with Kindle distribution – I know that CG and TC are available on the Kindle, for example – it seems that smaller publishers won’t find a savior here. However, the NYT and magazines like Wired and the New Yorker, stalwarts aimed at techies and people who read, if not both at once, will win.
This is a brave new world, friends, that has such ebooks in’t. We’re coming up to a revolution – all they need to do is convince a quorum of dead tree readers to switch.