Sunday, October 16, 2011

Kindle Fire could be game-changer, news sites could challenge book publishers

Katherine Travers on the editorsweblog writes that Amazon's new Kindle Fire tablet would upend content consumers' puchase and use of tablets.

There are three main reasons, she says: Amazon is a huge force in media (with 50% growth in quarterly revenues and the possibility of reaching %50 billion in sales this year, according to Businessweek), Amazon is considerably different than Apple, bringing its tablet into the mainstream with a price tag reflecting Amazon's low profit margins (especially compare to Apple's), and Amazon is here to stay, and Kindle Fire is a long-term investment.

Meanwhile, Amazon and its "digital imprints" are just one challenge to traditional print-only book publishers, according to the New York Times. Authors who print their own e-books, new online-only efforts and now news organizations spinning off into e-products.

The Boston Globe and Politico, the New Yorker and Vanity Fair magazines and ABC News and the Huffington Post all have e-books out or imminent about topics ranging from Rupert Murdoch and 9-11 to ending the Pentagon's "Don't ask, don't tell" policy and the crisis in the Catholic Church.

E-books are a new platform for material that's shorter than many books, cheaper to price, and quick to produce -- often outgrowths of magazine features or newspaper series.

A Kindle, Nook or tablet is an efficient way to read such contents, according to Eric Simonoff, a literary agent.

“These devices are uniquely suited for mid-length content that runs too long for shrinking magazines and are too pamphletlike to credibly be called a book” he told the New York Times.