To the Victor Goes the Pricing Power

Terrific piece by Joshua Benton at The Nieman Journalism Lab, responding to my “Dirty Percent” piece yesterday. I had forgotten that Amazon does subscriptions for the Kindle:

The Kindle does actually offer subscriptions, both to newspapers and blogs, like Daring Fireball itself. (Given where DF ranks in the Kindle Store, he probably has about 5-8 people paying $1.99 a month to read the site on their Kindles. We have 16! That’s likely to be the only traffic-related number where we edge Gruber.)

I don’t think any publisher would consider Amazon’s Kindle subscription model an improvement over Apple’s, though, for a host of reasons — not least that it’s Amazon who controls pricing, not the publisher, not to mention Amazon takes an even steeper cut than Apple does.

So why aren’t those who are criticizing Apple for taking a 30 percent cut of subscription revenue criticizing Amazon? My theory: everyone understands, intuitively, that the Kindle is a closed proprietary platform; but many people view iOS (incorrectly) as a platform like the Mac or Windows, where third parties are free to do what they want.

Wednesday, 2 March 2011