Amazon's Kindle Fire Newsstand Debuting With 400 Magazines, Newspapers
With Amazon.com (NAS: AMZN) poised to begin shipping its much-anticipated Kindle Fire tablet on Nov. 15, the digital commerce giant announced that its new Kindle Fire Newsstand will feature more than 400 full-color magazines and newspapers from publisher partners including Conde Nast, Meredith Corp. and Hearst Corp.
The Android-powered Kindle Fire touts a seven-inch touchscreen delivering 1024 X 600 pixel resolution at 169 ppi and 16 million colors in high resolution, promising users a reading experience on par with glossy print magazines. Interactive editions of titles including Better Homes & Gardens, Allure and Self also bring built-in video and audio integration. In addition, Kindle Fire customers who subscribe before March 1, 2012 will receive an exclusive free three-month trial of 17 Conde Nast magazines like Vanity Fair, GQ, Wired and Glamour.
Publishers first began trumpeting Kindle Fire deals in late September, shortly after Amazon officially unveiled the tablet. The Wall Street Journal reports that negotiations between Amazon and publishers went far more smoothly than earlier discussions with Apple (NAS: AAPL) in part because Amazon has agreed to share more customer data, including subscribers' names and addresses. The negotiations were "a very smooth process," said Hearst Magazines general manager and executive vice president. "I think that Amazon had the benefit of listening to the broader market discussion during the last 18 months and came to publishers with a compelling story."
Publishers will claim about 70 percent of revenues derived from Kindle Fire digital magazine sales, sources say. Amazon will control pricing of magazine subscriptions, a source of contention with at least one publisher: Time Inc., the largest U.S. magazine publisher thanks to properties like Sports Illustrated and People, has not completed a Kindle Fire deal, and sources point to Amazon's subscription pricing demands as the culprit. The Wall Street Journal adds that Amazon and Time are expected to reach an agreement by year's end -- sources also say Amazon is expected to grant its partners greater pricing flexibility over time.
Amazon.com will sell the Kindle Fire for $199, compared to $499 for Apple's cheapest iPad. Kindle Fire offers access more than 18 million movies, TV shows, songs, books, magazines, apps and games, as well as free storage in the Amazon Cloud. Content partners include Hulu, ESPN, Netflix, Rhapsody, Pandora, Twitter, Zynga, EA, Gameloft and Rovio Mobile.
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