Kindling This Blog

The main post on techmeme for the past 24 hours is the news that Amazon has a new ebook reader called Kindle. I was going to completely ignore this meme. eBook readers are stupid. The iPhone and Blackberry and services like DailyLit that deliver books via email and RSS to any device are the way to go.

But then this morning I saw this twitter post by Hugh:


   
      $0.99 for a month subscription to a blog on an Amazon Kindle. Losers. Assholes.

And it reminded me of an email conversation I had early this year, in February. It started with this email:

FM recently signed a deal with a large e-commerce company (one you’ve definitely heard of) that is planning to launch a portable eBook reader & content service in the next few months. This company has designed the device to offer great screen readability, to be lightweight and to have a long battery life — in part because the company hopes it will be used for reading online content. The e-commerce company has asked us to see if you are interested in providing your site’s RSS content for distribution on the eBook reader in exchange for a revenue share.

If you’re interested in hearing more about this and agree to be bound by the non-disclosure agreement that FM has already signed, which would prevent you from blogging about the device until news about it is officially released, drop me an e-mail and we can tell you more. We can also arrange for you to talk to the e-commerce company about the device, and coordinate your getting an in-person demonstration in New York, Los Angeles, San Francisco or at CES in Las Vegas.

I replied:

Sure
But I won’t charge for the feed
They can have it for free
Let me know what I need to do

The reply came back:

It seems like the company is planning to charge the reader for the subscription whether you charge them or not, because, in part, they have to cover the costs of distributing the content wirelessly. Are you cool with them charging enough to just cover their costs?   In other words, is your desire to have your readers be able to subscribe for free… or are you just offering it for free because you don’t care about the dough yourself?

To which I replied:

Ideally I’d like my content to be free for everyone

I don’t need the money and want my feed to be as broadly available as possible

So I don’t want to charge anyone for it

If they feel the need to charge, so be it. Maybe they can charge a little bit less ;)

The next thing I got back was a contract, which I think I ignored but honestly I can’t be sure. There are no other emails to jog my memory.

So you probably can’t get this blog on the Kindle. But it’s easily readable on an iPhone or a Blackberry and that’s where mobile content is headed, not to some big, heavy, proprietary device that charges to subscribe to content. Losers is right Hugh.