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Kindle: Opportunity for independent publishers, journalists, and spammers alike

Kindle: Opportunity for independent publishers, journalists, and spammers alike

On Monday, Amazon announced that John Locke became the first independent author to join the ranks of those who have sold a million or more books on Amazon's Kindle. Locke published his books entirely through Amazon's self-publishing system, selling his action and adventure stories for 99 cents.

Noting the business opportunity that a 35-cent profit margin on every 99-cent provided, Locke said he "set a goal to become the world's greatest 99-cent author."

Kindle's self-publishing model has been praised for freeing authors from dependence on third-party deals, but that is not the only publishing opportunity it provides. It also promotes shorter reading material, as many readers are more likely to turn to shorter stories over novels to avoid staring at a small screen for hours at a time. This is good news for long form journalism, which does not always find its place in digital news.

Online papers' strongest point is the ability to update breaking news stories quickly. The focus is on the newest information or personalized news stories, and good pieces of long-form journalism are often lost in the noise. Kindle Singles have since provided a new platform for long-form journalism, as Nieman Lab explains are aimed for pieces that are "long for a web piece, short for a book".

ProPublica has already taken advantage of the opportunity to sell investigative stories, such as "The Wall Street Money Machine" or "Pakistan and the Mumbai Attacks: The Untold Story", which are available on Amazon's website.

Allowing opportunities for writers and independent newsrooms to bypass traditional publishers has been a double-edged sword for Kindle. Opening the e-reader up a self-publishing option has also opened up a portal for spam, Reuters reported. The spam books are built using Private Label Rights, which is information bought very cheaply and formatted into a digital book. Spammers sell the stories for 99 cents on Amazon's website. The books are a nuisance for users, who must sort through many more titles to find quality reading.

However, it is unlikely that the spam will dilute the value of what Amazon's Kindle has already accomplished. With a few filters, or perhaps a "report content" button for users, the issue can be taken care of without disregarding self publishing altogether. Kindle's platform for self-publishing is a lucrative one for writers like Locke, gives access to a new audience for independent newsrooms like ProPublica.

Sources: Market Watch, Nieman Lab, Reuters

Photo Credit: Amazon



Florence Pichon


2011-06-21 14:01

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