November 19, 2007

Hmm. Dadblogs Available For Subscription On The Amazon Kindle e-Reader

amazon_kindle.jpgHello, slightly random-looking, e-ink-based, wireless, e-book reading device from Amazon.

Amazon wants to sell you a Kindle for $400, then sell you digital books and subscriptions to magazines, newspapers, and blogs [?!] to read on it. The content is delivered via EVDO cellular data network.

So far, there are two dadblogs available to buy: Dadcentric and Dad Gone Mad, plus BabyGadget. They're $0.99/month each, and yes, bloggers get a cut. BabyGadget's not, but the first two are part of the Federated Media ad network; yet plenty of other FM blogs are not available, so it's not entirely clear how or why the 300+ blog on offer were selected.

update: I've heard from a couple of folks now whose blogs are listed, and they say they've never heard a thing from Amazon about syndicating their content, selling subscriptions to their blogs, or sharing revenue in any way. What's up? It was the Dukes FM. It was the Dukes FM.

BoingBoing Gadgets and Dethroner blogger Joel Johnson [both FM, both included] points out that the Kindle also has a web browser, so you could always any blog you like for free "on Amazon's dime," since there's no connection charge. If anyone pulls up DT on one, please let me know how it looks; I haven't optimized the site layout for fugly little desk phone-looking e-readers.

FINAL UPDATE: After reading Mark Pilgrim's chilling post on the Kindle, I'm removing the link to Amazon below. To whoever bought the things yesterday via the Amazon link below, I hope you return them. It's a devastatingly wrongheaded and potentially dangerous device that must fail. Amazon monitors and logs what and how you read, and they lay a whole new, restrictive layer of usage restrictions on other peoples' content, the kind of things that people like BoingBoing's writers have repeatedly condemned when they weren't partnering and making money from them. It's unbelievable, really. Fortunately, the Kindle seems stupid enough to fail on its own without coordinated boycotting. But still, mark your calendars.

post-final update: Jason tells me he's requested Dadcentric be pulled from the Kindle blogpile. Guess he'll have to shelve whatever plans he had for that $0.09 Amazon check that'd arrive in mid-2008.

Kottke's "underwhelmed," and because it's freakin' evil as well as stupid, you should not buy an Amazon Kindle for any price, much less $399 [amazon via kottke


Underwhelmed is the word for it. Maybe that's why I haven't heard a peep about this before today. I just stumbled upon it on the Amazon home page.

Seriously, charging for access to websites you can look at on any computer or wireless device? And if this is such a great "service" why are they charging $400 for the device part?

Were Amazon's entire R&D and marketing departments in a cave through the introduction and subsequent price reductions of the iPhone?

[were their ID departments in a cave when someone suggested they make it out of the dirt-friendliest material possible? it seriously looks like they're selling a prototype as-is. -ed.]

I read this post on my nokia N73 smartphone using the Opera Mini browser, which re-renders websites with smaller images so they can be read easily over a cellphone connection. It always looks fine on my phone, and your original design is clean enough that the re-rendering doesn't drastically alter the layout. One issue, however, is that I had to wait to get home to my computer to leave a comment. When I tried it from my phone the server misrecognized my post as coming from a spambot, perhaps because it goes from my phone to the Opera servers, and then to your server? I dunno. I'm not that tech savvy.

I don't know if the ID folks were in a cave... offhand I'd say their heads were possibly up somewhere equally dark, but more crowded and personal... it looks like something attached to a machine in a hospital at best.

I guest posted a piece on a friend's blog with a bunch of links to how in Japan people are reading novels on their cellphones, to the extent that online novels actually outsold paper ones in that country -- despite the market differences between here and Japan, if I had to put my money on anything it would be the iPhone and its brethen.

All of your Kindle Kwestions are answered here:

It looks like the web browser is pretty crappy (and black and white, natch), but surprisingly it does like it will browse the web for free. I thought for sure it was only going to be free to connect to Amazon, like Apple's new Starbucks/iTunes mashup.

[thanks, though now that the "do bloggers know Amazon's selling subs to their sites?" question's been answered, my only remaining question is, "do you mind if I forget about Kindle now?" -ed.]

I was watching Jeff Bezos on Charlie Rose last night. This Kindle thing is awful. And what a name for it - use it to light your fireplace. It reminds me of the Apple Newton. I know they want long battery life, but they need it to be backlit for the look of a white page if they can't get full color. It sounded like a good idea for my mom who's not connected but reads a lot, but I don't think it'll fly.

Although to stay on topic, how many board books can you fit on it???? ;-)

As it turns out, yes, I had been with Federated Media when they were approached by Amazon; the FM folks in turn contacted FM bloggers about the opportunity and I signed off on the agreement. This was waaaaaay back in April; I then promptly forgot all about it, and thus was surprised to see DadCentric listed among Kindle's syndicated blogs. (By "surprised", I mean "pissed off", as I assumed that Amazon had done this without my permission. Turns out they did in fact have it.) I still was a bit miffed, as I had ended my agreement with FM about two months ago. I did contact FM about that, and they have informed Amazon that I'm no longer with FM, but am entitled to any revenues that are generated via DadCentric. I'm in the process of determining what that means, and frankly I haven't decided whether or not I'm going to continue with the whole Kindle deal (more on that below). I don't see this as a double standard, frankly; the thought of paying someone money for something that they can get for free seems to me to be a bit silly, I'm not planning on endorsing Kindle on the site, and I'm more than happy to tell people that the feed is available for free. (Maybe I'm a bit thick, but if I'm a consumer, and I click on the Kindle site, and I see that there is a blog called DadCentric and it seems interesting to me, I'm going to visit the site regardless.) The money I have made on DadCentric advertising this year wouldn't cover the cost of a pizza dinner for the guys who write for the site, and I don't see that Kindle is going to make much of a difference. Maybe it'll pay for extra cheese.

That said, I do wholeheartedly agree that Amazon should be sanctioned if they have used people's blogs without express authorization. There does seem to be a bit of that going on, and that is certainly going to determine whether or not I continue to do business with them.

A correction for you, Greg: after about 1 minute's worth of contemplation, I emailed Amazon and requested that they pull DadCentric from the Kindle Feed Collective.

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