In an effort to get more magazines and newspapers onto the Kindle platform, Amazon has begun offering publishers up to 70% of the revenue their periodicals bring in. To get the cash, publishers would have to make their rags available on not just Amazon’s hardware Kindle, but on the Kindle app on phones and computers. The deal could make it easier for consumers to read, say, the latest imponderable Malcolm Gladwell essay, and keep their place when moving from computer to phone to iPad. It could also undermine efforts by Apple to position the iPad as the best platform evar for periodicals.
To qualify for the new rates, publishers must make their titles available on all Kindle devices and on the Kindle applications for PCs and for Apple’s iPhone, according to Amazon. Kindle users should also be able read the title in all territories for which the publisher has distribution rights, Amazon said.
While Amazon is working to get digital magazines into your hands wherever you are, publisher Random House is out with the astounding news that publishing books digitally and on dead trees simultaneously doesn’t hurt physical sales. The latest John Grisham novel, “The Confession,” sold about 70,000 ebook editions in its first week, along with 160,000 hardcover volumes.
Grisham had previously opposed ebooks, worrying that they’d cannibalize sales at indy bookstores. Now he’s bought into the idea that he’s reaching new readers, who wouldn’t have bought the paper edition. “Hopefully there is a whole new market out there of readers buying books digitally,” he said.
Some publishers still delay their ebook editions out of concern that simultaneous launches will suppress hardcover sales. However, Grisham seems to have acknowledged the failure of that approach, after he received emails from fans who couldn’t buy digital versions of his earlier books. “As an author, that hits pretty close to home,” he said.