Sunday, June 21, 2009

Kindle DX: WPost and NYTimes snatch a fail from a potential victory!

So, Amazon comes out with the Kindle DX, a larger format, and maybe, just the thing to read a newspaper ... hmmm ... maybe. Actually no, maybe for some, but well, looks like NYT and WPO were able to pull a #fail out of a potential victory.

So, The New York Times (and it's sad little gutted step-child, the Boston Globe) and Washington Post jump on the bandwagon. This is it, some real action from their gray eminences, Newspaper 2.0. What an interesting idea, offer a Kindle DX to online subscribers to the papers. Start transitioning the deadtree/newsprint portion of your audience who are not tech savvy enough to use another mobile device to the digital future while at the same time, locking them into a subscription to your journalistic expertise. Lock in an audience and a key demographic. Brilliant stroke!

Except, of course, that it's newspaper industry doing this. So what do the brilliant business folk at NYT and WPO give their customers? Well, the deal isn't available to subscribers in the home markets of the papers - the very audience that's bleeding from the subscription rolls like watery ink through newsprint.

Now, of course the Times and Post are nationwide papers, but their hometown readers are, well, generally an influential group. As I noted in an earlier posting, the Washington Metro is increasingly "Kindle-ized". But, WPO is doing nothing to leverage their Kindle investment to take advantage of that.

Here's Rob Pegoraro writing in The Washington Post (here's the link for those of you in the DC area who might be getting the Kindle DX/Post package - 'cause you won't be able to read it on your Kindle!):
With the DX, Amazon is also exploring cheaper ways to bring this device to readers. Three newspapers -- The Washington Post, the New York Times and the Boston Globe -- will offer the DX at a discount to readers who subscribe to their Kindle editions. ... Those deals get around the relatively high cost of a Kindle, but few readers can benefit from them. The newspaper discounts, for example, only cover readers living outside of each paper's circulation area -- an arbitrary restriction that will probably prove to be self-defeating.
The Amazon press release even highlights the WPO and NYT fail feature in it's lead:
The New York Times, The Boston Globe, and The Washington Post to Launch Trials Offering Kindle DX to Subscribers Who Live in Areas Where Home Delivery is Not Available
How much longer will journalism tie itself to a business model that can't see the digital forest for the dead trees?

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