Why the Kindle could be the new newspaper

The recently released Amazon Send to Kindle application and plug-in for WordPress could open up massive new markets for journalists, bloggers and publishers.

First, the plug-in works and works well, with the articles I have sent to my Kindle Fire keeping their formatting and splitting very nicely into pages, just like a Kindle book in fact. I suppose I shouldn’t be surprised as ebook formats such as epub or mobi are basically compressed HTML and CSS files.

This must open up opportunities for bloggers and online publishers. Apart from single articles which can be sent to a Kindle for later offline reading, news publishers, for example, could group together articles for sending to Kindle. For example, if The Guardian and The Observer put all the week’s book reviews together and offered a Send to Kindle button, they would surely get a lot of downloads. Any newspaper could do the same with, for example, football reports, business news, political news, etc.

Now newspapers and bloggers might think that would be the last thing they want to do as their whole idea is to keep readers on their websites and boost their traffic figures rather than sending them away to read at their leisure later but there are two points to consider.

First, each of these download supplements could contain advertisements and/or sponsored posts. Downloads would be of more value to advertisers than website viewers. as they would be getting more of the readers’ attention.

The other point is that it wouldn’t be difficult to add on some kind of payment mechanism, not perhaps with this plug-in as it does involve Amazon in the transaction but maybe a plug-in that sends articles to a user’s Kindle or Nook or iPad with an easy, one-click payment link via, say, Paypal Express or Bitcoins.

So-called micropayments for reading online articles have long been the holy grail of newspapers and magazines but the missing link has been a device that’s portable and capable of displaying the articles well. That situation has changed with the proliferation of smaller tablets such as the Kindle Fire and the mini iPad and the delivery system is here.