Regular users of the Amazon Kindle store will know that their reading options aren't just limited to traditional books. For a long time, readers have been able to subscribe to newspapers and a selection of magazines, with every edition delivered to them wirelessly through WhisperNet technology.
The response seems mixed. Kindle is certainly associated with books first and foremost, and in some geographical areas the selection of magazines is relatively poor. However, there certainly seems like there is a growing understanding among periodical publishing that digital editions will soon become as ubiquitous in their industry as they are for books, even if the seismic shift hasn't happened yet.
In making a digital edition available, a periodical prepares itself for the future, and places a defence against the ever encroaching horde of blogs and online news sites. The Huffington Post itself, where you are probably reading this article, is one of the very outlets driving the old fashioned newspapers to adapt to the modern age.
Those businesses might now be more concerned once again, that they are not adequately protected against the future. Amazon has opened up its Kindle Publishing for Blogs platform to the masses. As of now, you can self-publish a magazine or newspaper style periodical as easily as you can a new piece of fiction. Just set up a blog, work out the RSS feed URL, and fill in the fields. Users will then be able to subscribe to that feed as if it was the New York Times, and you can profit from it.
These blog posts will be delivered to readers as they are updated, but Amazon will be charging for the privilege. However, in a move very much alternative to the free pricing structure of self-published books, Amazon has decided to set the prices of these subscriptions themselves. Typically a monthly subscription to one of these blogs will set you back less than $5, or the equivalent in pounds and euros. For that, you are guaranteed to get the full content published by that blog within any calendar month, and without advertising.
So, should the current digital magazine and newspaper publishers be worried that this new distribution channel, with its carefully managed prices, will soon be as crowded as the internet itself? Will its openness destroy the closed market they used to have for digital editions? I would answer a strong yes. The ease with which you can add a blog to the Kindle Publishing programme means that anybody who has an internet outlet might as well try and monetise it through the system. As of yet, I can see no reason that you wouldn't, with the minor possibility that you might upset your existing advertisers requiring only brief concern.
More than the ease with which you can self publish a blog through Amazon, the potential financial gain from self publishing means your blog could soon be generating more income than you might expect. Pick the right topic, and those monthly subscriptions, all affordably priced, may well start pouring in.
For proof you need only look at the tech website Ars Technica's recent experiment. In July of this year they published John Siracusa's mammoth review of Apple's OS X Lion. Clocking in at nearly thirty thousand words, it was certainly a weightier blog post than most. Ars Technica saw an opportunity, and published the article as an eBook, generating 3,000 sales at $5 each within the first 24 hours of publication. This blog post was freely available online, yet this website made $15,000 in a day by publishing it as premium content.
Users are willing to pay for blog content then, provided you give them a product they want. The growing popularity of online news and magazine content publishers like Huffington Post, the very reason that traditional sources started to expand into digital, shows that the internet is often better at providing said product than their print counterparts. Amazon's new Kindle Publishing for Blogs platform cements the company's position as the world's biggest proponent of self published content, perfectly complimenting their existing services. It is yet another revolution for both writers and readers, and will be a major force within the shifting world of publishing. Do not be surprised if a Kindle published blog soon has a larger circulation than the NYT.
And yes, you can get this blog through the service. Viva la revolution!
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