Kindle: The Next Blogging Platform?By Lawrence Walsh | Print
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Amazon will format and distribute your blog through its Kindle Store, giving you a channel to deliver marketing messages, technology tips and business observations to your customers and prospects. There’s a catch, of course. Amazon will charge for the blogs, and you only get a small portion of the proceeds.
The Kindle is rapidly doing for digital books what the iPod did for music – transforming the medium by making the electronic form-factor simple and efficient and the acquisition of content easier. What Amazon hopes to do next is incorporate popular blogs into the digital reader, including those of technology enthusiasts and solution providers.
Beginning this week, Amazon is accepting public blogs through its Kindle Publishing for Blogs Beta program, where it will format the content for the Kindle device and distribute it to subscribers through the Kindle Store. In theory, solution providers can leverage this channel to disseminate its corporate and technology blogs to customers, prospects and anyone else interested in their messages.
Amazon says the conversion process takes 12 to 48 hours before its ready for distribution. And, with the new wireless Kindles, blog subscribers will get their updates automatically pushed to their devices.
But there’s a catch – there’s always a catch.
Amazon isn’t charging bloggers and content providers for the distribution service. In fact, it will pay bloggers. The catch is that it’s charging subscribers to receive blogs selected through the Kindle Store. Amazon isn’t clear on what it will charge for each blog, but some speculate that it will cost subscribers $1.99 per blog per month. Amazon will pay the blogger a 30 percent commission for participating.
While the fee-based subscription seems reasonable, critics already say that it will greatly limit the potential audience for Kindle blogs and, as a result, drive down potential revenue for the bloggers. After all, Apple’s iTunes store charges only for rich media content but distributes all forms of podcasts for free. And the commission structure, critics say, is inverted from the application revenue split for Kindle, iPhone and other devices, which can run twice as much as the blogger rate.
Kindle power users will likely grab some of the blogs, but its usefulness as a mass-market and communications tool—under this schema—is limited. Solution providers and technology bloggers will likely get more bang for their efforts through traditional social networks, RSS feeds and viral marketing.