Thursday, May 07, 2009

Newsflash: Amazonian Chutzpah

Apparently when I suggested yesterday that Amazon might be shooting itself in the foot, I wasn't far off the mark. The Dallas Morning News is reporting to the US Senate that "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? I get 30 percent and they get the right to license my content to any portable device—not just ones made by Amazon? That, to me, is not a model. Maybe what Plastic Logic comes up with or what Hearst comes up with, might provide a good model but today Kindles are less than 1 percent penetration in the U.S. market. They’re not a platform that’s going to save newspapers in the near term.”

The subject came up during the U.S. Senate subcommittee hearing on the future of newspapers. Dallas Morning News Publisher and CEO James Moroney spoke up after Arianna Huffington raved about the Kindle DX's potential as an option.

Personally, I see this as both bad for both Amazon and the newspaper industry. The latter, because frankly they're an archaic dinosaur that needs to find a new way to grasp technology and new users; the former, because they're letting greed override judgement. Someone with better marketing sense (read: Sony or, as a dark horse, Apple) needs to slide into this gap and take advantage of the situation, quickly - or ebooks will die from this negative taint.

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