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As a publisher, getting on the Amazon (NSDQ: AMZN) Kindle isn’t a get-rich-quick scheme. We should know — paidContent was among the sites included in the Kindle Store when the first gen device launched in 2007. But bloggers who want a shot at incremental subscription income by self-publishing their RSS feeds through the device now have that chance via a beta program that went live Wednesday.
PR exec Steve Rubel was in the first wave of beta signups with his Micro Persuasion blog and it’s already live. He said the process, which includes setting up a vendor account with bank information and either social security number or a tax ID number, took 10 minutes but he never saw a mention of the revenue-sharing terms. In fact, there were very few options; Amazon even set the price at $1.99.
But Amazon’s 70-30 split — in its favor — has been well publicized, including in the U.S. Senate. Subscriptions, which include the same 14-trial period as other Kindle periodicals, run up to $1.99 a month (Rubel’s blog or HuffPo, for instance); paidContent goes for $0.99. The former would take approximately 168 paying readers to make $100 a month; the latter would take 337 subs to get to that figure.
Put another way, Barclays Capital analyst Doug Anmuth estimates that Amazon might sell less than a million Kindles this year, which makes it a very small potential market for bloggers. As is the case with other web sites, blogs already can be accessed on the Kindle when wireless access is live and there are other ways for minimal delivery fees to get it delivered for offline access. The last time I tried the blogs weren’t available through the iPhone Kindle app.
The cost of running the “free” Whispernet delivery service has been mentioned as one reason for Amazon’s higher split. Amazon declined to discuss terms when I asked after the Senate hearing where Dallas Morning News Publisher and CEO James Moroney complained about the 70-30 offer and the e-commerce company’s desire for expansive licensing rights to any portable devices. Moroney told the Senate subcommittee headed by U.S. Sen. John Kerry (D-Mass): “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