Just a quick follow-up to my post from earlier in the week, “Kindle and the Future of Print Journalism.” There I proposed that Amazon.com should sell its Kindle e-reader at a loss, with the understanding that the loss could be recouped through a revenue-sharing agreement with those newspapers publishers who choose to distribute their content electronically through Amazon. Well, it turns out that something like this arrangement already exists — only the revenue sharing isn’t designed to drive down Kindle’s hefty price tag.
The video embedded below contains Congressional testimony by James Moroney, Publisher and CEO of the Dallas Morning News.
The Kindle, which I think is a marvelous device, the best deal Amazon will give the Dallas Morning News-and we’ve negotiated this up to the last two weeks-they want 70 percent of the subscriptions revenue. I get 30 percent, they get 70 percent. On top of that they have said we get the right to republish your intellectual property to any portable device. Now is that a business model that is going to work for newspapers?
Evidently this information has been circulating for some time now, although I only learned of it recently, in Malcolm Gladwell’s insightful review and critique of Chris Anderson’s new book, Free! The Future of a Radical Price.
Anyway, so much for the idea of making Kindle more accessible by bringing the cost down. Until that happens, the device will remain an elite source for daily news — which I take to be contrary to the democratic impulse driving journalism in the United States.