Surprise – a blogger likes the Kindle Publishing for Blogs program

There have been so many negative posts about the Kindle Publishing for Blogs initiative by Amazon, mostly centering around -

  1. How Amazon gets 70% of the subscription amount. 
  2. How Kindle users would never subscribe to blogs that are free online.

That I’d begun to feel these bloggers were signing up to the program themselves just to overwhelm it and cause it to break down so that Amazon could no longer steal 70% of their subscription fees (never mind that some portion of the 70% gets eaten up by hosting, maintenance, and bandwidth costs).

Surely, given that bloggers and other content creators like newspapers are making so much money online, getting their content on the Kindle would hold little value.

Wait a minute … no … that’s not right.

99% of Bloggers are making next to nothing online.

If we leave out the top 1% of bloggers and the top 10% of affiliate marketers (who’re making a lot), and Google (who’re making perhaps even more) we’re left with the vast majority of people who are adding value to the Internet and, because they are not specialists at monetizing, getting nothing in return.

Amazon is providing a channel for these bloggers to get value back, and they ought to see it and admit it.

Kindle Publishing for Blogs lets you make money – directly

Think about it – almost every online monetization channel is indirect i.e. if you can sell product x; if you can get your readers to visit our site; if you can endorse our product.

Your readers are coming to you for Reason X, and almost every currently existing monetization model depends on you upselling something else or advertising to them. With the KP4B program you can make money off of what attracts users to your blog in the first place i.e. your content.

And you can cut out the middlemen i.e. the advertisers, companies selling products, search engines, marketers, and so forth.

In direct contrast to complaints that Amazon shouldn’t get 70% and complaints about how its not going to work, every blogger is signing up for the program. There are now 4,400 blogs available on the Kindle.

Its because bloggers at some level are beginning to get it. They’re beginning to see how its a win-win situation.

Geek MBA Blog does a simple analysis (just suspend belief and go with it) -

Let’s say that you can attract 5% of the overall Kindle user base, which is 50,000. The total monthly revenue from your blog would be $100,000. Amazon will get $70,000 while you get $30,000. You get paid at a rate of $0.6/user.

Note: He also talks about an established blogger who gets about $0.2/unique user AFTER years of hard work and after monetizing his blog to ridiculous amounts.

Here’s the most important part of the analysis – for every kindle subscriber you can attract and retain, you get 60 cents per user, per month. Without trying to get that user to buy something else.

Kindle Publishing for Blogs lets you focus on Your Core Competency

Note: Consider the model in terms of when there will be tens of millions of Kindle users (whether it be through Kindles or iPhones or Blackberrys). You have to look at it from the long term perspective.

Every Kindle user you get to subscribe to your blog gives you 60 cents a month. You already have the RSS feed so thats zero cost. You already blog and you already have your web presence. You just add a new channel that lets you get paid for your work.

Get a thousand subscribers and that’s $600 a month. You don’t have to worry about finding an affiliate program, getting advertisers, running Google Ads, asking for donations.

You get paid for your core competency i.e. the value of your expertise and/or the value of what you write. And even more importantly –  

You can focus on your core competency – writing/creating content you’re passionate about (and hopefully an expert at).

Closing Thoughts

Kindle Publishing for Blogs is a good, good step by Amazon. Sooner or later bloggers are going to realize that letting them get paid for something that they’re currently giving away for free online doesn’t make Amazon the enemy. Discoverability is an entirely different problem and hopefully that gets sorted out soon.

9 Responses

  1. Forgive me because I’ve obviously missed something. Where is the part where readers are going to willingly move over to a Kindle RSS feed of this blog as opposed to reading it via RSS on the computer as we do now?

    I mean, I do enjoy it and read every post. However, I will not subscribe to any blog on the Kindle if I’m forced to pay for it.

    Forgive me if I misunderstood. I, too, would like to monetize my blog and I understand the argument above. But putting the underlying premise into place is a feat that I’ll believe only once I see the masses making even a couple of pennies from it.

    Keith (love your blog, by the way)

    • its like pavlov’s experiment. people are trained to want everything for free on the internet.

      everything comes with an expectation of free – there’s always someone somewhere who’s ready to give up their stuff for free (whether it’s code or books or news) and kill the market.

      the only people who profit are the big platforms, ISPs and some other companies and people (affiliate marketers) that focus on the real business model under this illusion of free.

      the promise of advertising revenue and the increased competition has led people to devalue their work and give away stuff for free.

      there are so many companies that are giving away their services and content hoping to make money back on volume and advertising. that’s a loser’s game – especially when you get only a part of the advertising income.

      so the problem is not that people won’t pay for good content or for a blog subscription. they won’t pay for it on the internet.

      when you create a different channel where the training is that you pay to get value, people pay.

      That’s why Amazon has a $1 minimum price for books, and a $1 or $2 blog subscription.
      step out of the internet paradigm and consider whether your content is worth the price or not.

  2. I agree with your central premise which is that, all other things being equal, direct sales beats out of indirect forms of revenue based on ads and affiliate marketing by a huge margin.

    But all other things are not equal here. What complicates the issue here is audience size, which is not an independent variable. Most bloggers are obscure, and it’s usually critical that they give away their content for free if they want to grow and audience. Cory Doctorow has especially driven this point home for the world of book publishing. But what he says on that topic applies just as much if not more to blogging.

    If you charge for your content, your audience will be smaller, even if all or most of the people in that audience are forced to pay you directly for your content. If you give it away for free, a lot more people will be exposed to it, and with that much bigger pie of people who have now read your stuff and can judge the quality of it, you might very well end up with more revenue in absolute terms from the people who now are willing to pay you for an edited, book version of your blog, for speaking engagements, and other kinds of content and services that people are accustomed to paying for.

  3. It’s not an either/or thing. The web versions of blogs remain available at no cost. But if people would like the convenience of having a blog on their Kindle and an update coming in each time one is made, they can have it, for a small price. I do this for the NY Times Latest News and for Slate.com which have a large number of people writing and very varied subject matter. I just do not understand how Amazon can charge $1.99 for mine which is all the NYT’s Latest News through the day costs.

    I think it’s because they’re protecting the large periodicals from being surrounded by less expensive blogs and making them appear then to be ‘expensive.’

    The key:. Pricing correctly is All-important. There are a zillion blogs on the Net. And people have just so much to spend and we’re talking about only the convenience of a blog’s updates showing up on their Kindle. .
    $2 /mo.=$24/yr. will be their calculation.

    That is just too much for, I would say, 99.xx% of the Kindle-interested.

    If Amazon allowed a rate of 99c, THEN you would see some movement instead of a large fantasy. It’s a psychological thing. It’s not that blogs are not worth this or that of themselves, but $-worth depends on the reader.

    People will not be spending $24/yr willy nilly for blogs just for the convenience of not going to their computer to read them – that’s my view. I’d love to think I was wrong but…

    Friends have said that 99c /mo. feels like a drop in the bucket, but $2 becomes a real barrier. My friends happen to just love their Kindles and see no reason to go read Kindle blogs, by the way. So they’re part of the 99.xx %.

    As Daniel says and switch11 also said the other day, exposure is important for indirect selling based on interest in and trust in the content.

  4. People were trained by the Internet to expect free content? Really?

    I thought they were trained to expect free content by television.

  5. [...] (2:06) – Kindle Publishing for Blogs gets a thumbs-up from Abhi, and me, too. The Kindle iPhone app gets a spiffy update.  Stephen Windwalker presents evidence [...]

  6. [...] Because apparently some of the money (30%) does go to the blogger. [...]

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