Amazon has announced that bloggers of all stripes will be able to publish their feeds in Kindle-friendly format, and then sell that content to users via Amazon. Wait...what?
The Kindle has a built in browser--it's somewhat rudimentary, but certainly beefy enough to cope with the limited graphical and textual demands of displaying the average blog page. And that will be a blog page that's usually published in what's become the traditional manner: Free for all to see, and live on the internet.
Nevertheless, Amazon is planning to charge $2 per reader roll to view the blogs on Kindle. Interested bloggers can sign up to the beta program of Kindle Publishing for Blogs, and look forward to fame and fortune as their fees of around $2 per reader roll in--or rather 30% of $2, as Amazon creams its margin off the top.
Or, possibly, they'll make no money at all since most blogs can be accessed for free via the Kindle's browser, at any handy computer, or the smartphone in your pocket. For free. Maybe if you're off on holiday in a remote destination, and fancy catching up on the historical archive of your favorite blogger this could make sense. In that situation you might consider paying for a large chunk of text and graphics, and then downloading them in one fell swoop for later perusal.
But blogs derive much of their power from their nowness--their real-time relevance is what's presenting a challenge to traditional media reporting. By offering them to Kindle readers as so much dead text...is this Amazon's subtle way of propping up the ailing newspaper industry?
Either that, or Amazon is thinking far into the future to a time when people will pay to read blog posts. Hard to imagine, but not outside the realm of possibility.
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