On his Micro Persuasion blog, Steve Rubel is singing the praises of the Kindle. The Kindle 2.0 was launched last month, and Rubel has owned his for nearly two weeks - and he's already sold. Rubel sees the Kindle as the iPod of the print industry, and the ideal way for publications to begin to monetize their content after years of it being free online. To media companies, he says that his "unsolicited advice is to jump in now". He goes as far as suggesting that media companies subsidise the Kindle, by offering it at a lower price - but with their publications already loaded on.
The "Kindle, like the iPod, overcomes the hurdle required to get people to pay for content", explains Rubel. He reflects on the scepticism with which the music industry initially met iTunes and the iPod, and sees the initial reaction to Kindle from some in the newspaper and other print and news industries in similar terms. One of the biggest criticisms of iTunes was the belief that people wouldn't pay for music which they could download for free on file sharing networks, yet many - although by no means all - have. The debate on free online news content rages on, and Rubel sees the two dilemmas in parallel terms.
Whilst Rubel makes some very valid points with regards to the similarities between the iPod and the Kindle, there are limitations on the comparisons. For one is the very nature of music consumption; people want to carry around their entire music collection - but not every backdated edition of their favourite newspaper. For another is competition from other e-readers: Plastic Logic for example, has a much larger screen. However e-readers could definitely be a part of the solution in the quest to monetize online news content.
Source: Micro Persuasion