Thursday, July 31, 2008

What Are Kindle Owners Buying?

The Kindle is largely known as an "e-book reader" but it's really a gateway to all sorts of non-book content including magazines, newspapers and blogs. I got curious to see how my Kindle content buying habits match up against the Kindle community at large. The only way to gauge something like that is to look at Amazon's rankings of books, magazines, newspapers and blogs. Granted, this is highly unscientific, but here's what I recently found...

It's just a snapshot in time, but here are the overall Amazon Kindle rankings for the top 5 newspapers:

1. The New York Times, Amazon ranking: #15
2. The Wall Street Journal, Amazon ranking: #19
3. The Washington Post, Amazon ranking: #132
4. The International Herald Tribune, Amazon ranking: #185
The Los Angeles Times, Amazon ranking: #223
IOW, out of all the products Amazon sells for the Kindle, only 2 newspapers make the top 100.

Compare this to how the top 5 magazines fared in the rankings:
1. Newsweek, Amazon ranking: #60
2. Time, Amazon ranking: #108
3. The Atlantic, Amazon ranking: #113
4. Reader's Digest, Amazon ranking: #182
U.S. News & World Report, Amazon ranking: #183
These look similar to the top 5 newspapers where you have a couple at or near the top 100 and most of the 5 are in the top 200.

Now compare this to the top 5 blogs:
1. Amazon Daily, Amazon ranking: #70
2. Gawker, Amazon ranking: #111
3. The New York Times Latest News, Amazon ranking: #209
4. Huffington Post, Amazon ranking: #418
The Onion, Amazon ranking: #429
OK, Amazon Daily has a respectable ranking at #70, but let's not forget it's the only totally free product on any of these lists! Zero cost, and yet there are 69 other non-free products ranked ahead of it. Either Kindle owners don't know about this one or they just don't care.

The blog rankings really start to fall off after Gawker. You can see that with numbers 4 and 5 above but it gets even worse after the top 5. To tell you the truth though, I don't understand why anyone would pay for a blog subscription on the Kindle. Even though they're fairly inexpensive, Feedbooks offers free alternatives that are just as good and much more extensive.

It's also important to note that the vast majority of the magazines Amazon offers are priced at lower rates than the blogs. So although the magazine rankings are generally better than the blogs, there’s apparently not a lot of excitement on the magazine front either, which might explain why Amazon has been unable to get more magazines into the mix (they currently only offer 16 magazines). Before looking at these numbers I would have thought the well-known and trusted brand names like “Newsweek” and “Time” would have been top 10-20 overall rankings, particularly since they’re only $1.49/month each, or less than half the price of most Starbucks drinks!