Peter Kafka

Recent Posts by Peter Kafka

Kindle Nation Could Be 10 Million Strong. But What Happened to Amazon’s “Save the Newspaper Business” Plan?

weegee-crowdHave you bought  a Kindle? Do you plan on buying a Kindle? If you answered yes to either question, you’re part of a not-that-small group: JP Morgan estimates that some 10 million Americans either own one of Amazon’s e-book readers or plan to get one soon.

That projection comes from a survey of Web users that Internet analyst Imran Khan commissioned last month. Khan’s survey found that 37 percent of respondents were familiar with the Kindle. And of that group, five percent said they already owned one of the devices, and another 15 percent said they expect to buy one within the next year. Extrapolating those results for the U.S. population, Khan figures that Kindle ownership will hit 10 million in the next 12 months. (Click chart to enlarge)

kindle-purchase-plans

OK. But what if Amazon (AMZN) dropped its proprietary ebook format, a supposed weakness that competitors Sony (SNE) and Plastic Logic are trying to take advantage of by agreeing to use an open, common standard? Won’t matter that much, say Khan’s respondents: Only 15 percent of people who say they don’t plan to buy a Kindle cite format issues as a concern. I’m surprised the number is that high.

kindle-purchase-problems

On a related note: Whatever happened to Amazon’s plan to work with the New York Times (NYT) and the Washington Post (WPO) to bundle newspaper subscriptions with its jumbo-sized Kindle DX reader?

When Amazon unveiled the DX in May, it briefly mentioned plans to sell the $489 machine at a discount to people who bought subscriptions to the Times, Post or Boston Globe, but didn’t say much more than that. Details were supposed to be released “this summer.”

Now we’re midway through August and we haven’t heard a peep about the program. What gives? I asked Amazon, the Times and the Post, and none of them had anything to say–save for a comment from a Post rep who said that the subscription-plus-discount offer would be “a small experiment.”


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