Why Didn’t the New York Times or the WSJ Sell Me My Kindle 2?

As I’ve mentioned in previous posts, in really excited about the arrival of my Kindle 2. I love books, magazines, and newspapers, so I’m sure I’ll get a lot of value out of it. But I’m not sure why re NYT or WSJ didn’t give me the opportunity to buy it directly from them. Why not put together a deal along the following lines?

-Large newspaper company gets an Amazon Associates affiliate account (they’re willing to pay normal Amazon Associates around $35 for each Kindle they sell – I’m sure the NYT or WSJ could get a higher payout)
-Offer all print subscribers a deal that includes the Kindle 2 and a pre-paid one year subscription to their publication (maybe give the customer a 10% discount for pre-paying a whole year)
-Large newspaper gets affiliate revenue from device sales and cash flow benefit of a full year of pre-paid subscription

If the WSJ or NYT had offered me that deal, I certainly would have taken it. Once I get the device, I know I’m going to subscribe to those newspapers. If print publications are going to make their content available on devices like the Kindle 2, why not at least participate in a greater portion of the economics?

I’m not sure how traditional media publications feel the Kindle fits into their overall strategy and business. Regardless, this strikes me as money left on the table.

And if you’re going to buy a Kindle 2 anyway, why not buy it through this blog? You can click on the link below and support the blog:

  • Great point. I wrote a little post on the thoughts that your post sparked in my head. http://www.kennykellogg.com/2009/02/paper-busin

  • And I just went and read your post and left a comment. Glad you enjoyed the
    post!

  • Doug

    I'm not sure that the customer lifetime value for a customer would warrant much subsidy for the newspapers. But then again, they never have shown themselves very innovative. The NYTimes is probably the best online publication in the country. But only by default. It's unlikely that the majority of publications would understand what value this model would have for them.

    They might, however, take a stab at a paid iPhone/Touch app. That might be interesting.

  • I understand what you're saying, but I'm still confused. The NYT sells me a subscription for $9.99 per month on the Kindle. If they're interested in paid distribution on the platform, why not sell me the device as well. I'm not suggesting they subsidize the device – I'm just suggesting they take advantage of the affiliate opportunity to sell the device and get paid. And, in a world where cash is king, give me a discount for paying for a full-year subscription in advance.

  • I understand what you’re saying, but I’m still confused. The NYT sells me a subscription for $9.99 per month on the Kindle. If they’re interested in paid distribution on the platform, why not sell me the device as well. I’m not suggesting they subsidize the device – I’m just suggesting they take advantage of the affiliate opportunity to sell the device and get paid. And, in a world where cash is king, give me a discount for paying for a full-year subscription in advance.