Hacker News new | past | comments | ask | show | jobs | submit login
Amazon shuts newspaper and magazine subscriptions for Kindle and print (niemanlab.org)
346 points by marban on March 17, 2023 | hide | past | favorite | 248 comments

Back in 2015, I had a opportunity to work with a group of volunteers (non-profit organization that focused on community development in rural areas of Africa) and started using Kindles loaded with newspapers and magazines from the Kindle Newsstand as part of an education program. The whole group would visit villages and set up reading stations with the Kindles. That program over time, became so successful that it attracted the attention of other non-profit organizations, as well as government officials and educators. Like the political leaders talked about these kindles for many years and still do. The use of Kindles and other digital devices in education programs has become such an effective tool to reach out to remote and underprivileged areas around the world, and the world will miss Kindle Newsstand! Thanks for playing a role in providing access to reading materials in these communities:)

Around 2013 our university digitized their newspaper displays. Prior to the renovation, newspapers were posted daily in large vertical glass-covered display cases in the student lounge of the library (the library would buy and post two copies so all pages were face up). Tens of students at a time would slowly walk down the row of newspapers reading during their study breaks and quietly chatting while sipping on coffee.

After the lounge was renovated and made into a digital media space this culture completely disappeared. I saw maybe two people use the digital kiosks to read newspapers in the subsequent year. It was heartbreaking to see the culture of community newspaper reading just collapse.

Seems there is a psychological effect at play. I imagine a social ritual of standing and reading something that is always in-focus requiring no scrolling is far more appealing.

Scanning in that fashion is also far faster, more comfortable and efficient.

I used to flip through newspapers rather quickly scanning the headlines and first paragraph and reading more interesting articles in depth. Scanning this way is almost impossible digitally. Also headlines were more useful and articles actually had informative first paragraph instead of just "scroll some more" hooks.

I find that many of the magazines on Apple News+ have innovative navigation techniques that allow me to scan quickly. The throughput is high enough not to be laggy.

I find this too. with Apple News+ I think I read more magazines than I ever have before. They've been a good experience.

It is pretty possible digitally, at least I haven't had much problems doing it with PDFs on good fast reader.

Just not in the web way where going further almost always incurs some load time so it is impossible to skim, and it always wants to shove ad in-between

Yeah, it can get close with a lot of work, but I can still scan multiple articles on a large print newspaper faster just by flipping the page.

I can't quite pin words on it, but just intuitively it feels like there is less barrier to reading and more of a break from studying when the newspapers are printed and sitting there than when you have to swipe on a screen.

It's the size of the page. You can never replicate holding up a huge newspaper sheet with a digital screen. I really miss physical newspapers.

It's really hard to nail down, and even harder to explain to a lot of techies (who tend not to even believe it's a thing), but there is something about print-on-paper that just doesn't translate over to electronic displays.

I don't think it has to do with the actual appearance of the page, or even the feeling of the page when you touch it. I don't know what it is. But I know a lot of people (including myself) who react differently between the two media.

Printed words-on-paper is more immersive, somehow. There's less separation between the writing and the reader. I assume that's not true for everyone, but it's true for a substantial percentage of people.

Agreed, it also means no/less distractions and maybe that's what is happening. I get close to the words-on-paper immersive feeling when using e-ink style tablets (like supernote which tries really hard to not be more than a journal). But just knowing I can interact with it makes it less immersive. Something about words on paper are static and the information in front of me isn't changing makes it feel more immersive.

That glass display sounds extremely cool. Due to bus scheduling I would always have 20 minutes to kill before some classes and I would definitely have visited that.

I appreciate the reason for the kiosks (decently private, better access for those who need it) but they are competing with my personal laptop.

Newseum closed at the end of 2019


>The Today's Front Pages Gallery presented daily front pages from more than 80 international newspapers. The Today's Front Pages Gallery is still available on the Newseum's website [https://www.freedomforum.org/todaysfrontpages/#1], along with a few other galleries.

When I went to Washington, D.C. (a couple times) I'd lose myself in front of this gallery: absolutely fascinating to see how the world was viewed each day from so many different perspectives.

I work blocks away from the former Newseum and would routinely walk over there to look at the front pages. As years went by it seemed both increasingly anachronistic yet still relevant. The sheets of paper were static in a nice way that countered the ephemeral nature of the ticker that scrolled inside the building.

I remember the local library had these wood slat sticks they'd put the papers on, and you'd have today's paper on the top of this standing height desk, and the previous week or two would be underneath it; it was VERY nice for glancing at headlines or reading a page or two when passing by.

There is one at my university. It's custom software and it breaks all the time, such a waste of energy because no one reads it!

Every once in a while on HN, somebody posts about having taken a very large e-ink display and hooking it to an arduino to, daily, just post the front page of a newspaper. The thing is then just hung on a wall.

I'd love to have that, but those displays are $5000 or so.

If a business has a waiting room, it would be a fine thing to hang on the wall there.

An attention-getting and expensive (but universities seem like they could afford it) could be a giant e-ink version.

How does the hardware stand up over time ?

I had to read the email I got about this several times because it didn't seem to make sense. Hang on, my New York Times subscription is going to end in September and then... that's it? The Kindle is wonderful for reading newspapers on, and now - what? And why? I'm sure that someone has a very good reason for the change. I'm also sure that I've never seen a deprecation so poorly communicated.

Amazon doesn't want you to have a subscription to the New York Times. Amazon wants you to have a subscription to Amazon Unlimited, which would include access to the New York Times. Amazon would then pay the New York Times and all other periodicals an amount that Amazon thinks is fair based on how many people are reading their articles, like Amazon Unlimited books.

This is very bad for big periodicals with many subscribers. Under the current model, they get a predictable amount of income and are motivated by keeping the bar high for their content, lest they lose subscribers. Under the new model, their income is entirely based on how many people pick up that issue and read it, which makes it very hard to budget. It also likely means an inevitable slide into "politician SLAMMED other politican, and you'll NEVER BELIEVE what happened next" headlines, since extra clicks are very directly your periodical's source of income.

This is very good news for Amazon because it gives them far more bargaining power against publishers. Right now, if The New York Times decides that Amazon's terms favor Amazon too strongly, the Times walks, and Amazon doesn't get any more money from Times subscribers. Under this system, if the Times walks because Amazon terms favor Amazon too strongly, Amazon keeps the subscribers.

This is moderately good news for customers who read a bunch of stuff on Amazon Unlimited. You now get to read whatever you like for probably around the same cost, and the stuff you naturally choose to read will end up getting a bit of money from it. Yay.

This is probably moderately good news for niche, popcorn periodicals. If you have a "Werewolf Romance Weekly Short Fiction" magazine or "DIY Productivity Tip Of the Week" newsletter, you'll quite possibly make way more money by attracting idly browsing Amazon Unlimited customers than you would have been able to if you had needed to convince people to subscribe to your service.

At the same time, having to subscribe to specific periodical keeps me from doing it all. I see the these subscribe pop-ups every time I visit a newspaper, at least 5 different newspapers per day. It is just not affordable to have 5 subscriptions, so I end up subscribing to none.

Having the option to do either seems like the better approach for a consumer.

Worded differently, removing one of two options is worse for the consumer.

But that's not the current reality, as basically no newspapers are on Kindle Unlimited.

Or even worse is Apple News where it's pieces of major newspapers like the WSJ and then dumbed down newspapers like USA Today and nothing of the caliber of Financial Times.

What I want is an app/site that has all the news, strong blocklists so I can get rid of junk (USA Today), stuff I'm just not interested in (Wrestling Today if such a thing exists), and get more stuff that I didn't know existed (Upper Siberian Mining Monthly :-))!

https://www.pressreader.com might be worth a look. I only have limited access through my German library card, but what I've seen so far I liked.

None of the libraries I’m currently a member of has it, but the next city over does, so I’ll see if I can join that library - thanks for pointing this out!

I like the reading experience of it using its app. It combines the physical and "digital" views well.


Where has this been all my life?

Reasonable price, great selection of periodicals and newspapers.

Definite value.

I pay something like €5 to The Guardian and $2 to NYT (which I read very occasionally) every months. And then another €15 to a Swedish newspaper. That is very cheap to support independent journalism.

Wow, $2 is a good deal. I feel I paid that little to start, but now NYT charges me $20 CAD a month. I regularly debate whether it’s worth it or not, and it definitely stops me from subscribing to other publications.

Good luck canceling that subscription.

This really isn't a big deal if you use credit card policy to your advantage.

When I canceled a subscription to a local paper (Dallas Morning News), their policy said I had to call to cancel. Instead, I sent an email informing them I was rescinding authorization to charge my credit card.

They initially responded stating that I had to call to cancel my subscription. One more email reminding them that charging my card without authorization would be credit card fraud turned out to be enough to have the phone call requirement dropped.

They have made it easier. It used to be that you had to call, but now you can do it on the web.

I had nine months of chargebacks before I finally got NYT to stop charging me.

They have made it easier [by law] for subscribers [in California].

Paypal has a one-click cancel option for any recurring payment.

They always increase the price after a year, and I go through the cancelling forms in their website until they offer me the lower price again. I guess that they know how little I actually use the subscription, so it’s no point in trying to get more money from me.

I hope your calling The Guardian and especially the CIA... I mean the NYT "independent journalism" is an elaborate joke.

The Guardian is one of the best examples of independent journalism. It's owned by the Scott Trust. It was set up by the original owner in the 30s to ensure editorial independence. People do sometimes confuse "editorial independence" with "taking an editorial line I personally disagree with", however.

Why do you think so?

Because publications like the NYT depend on access for their "journalism" [0]. Independent/investigative journalism requires an adversarial relationship to power, and looks more like [1]. In past decades, the establishment was occasionally forced to grapple with this [2] [3] but at this point the public discussion is so captured, it's no longer necessary.

Chomsky's Manufacturing Consent lays it out in depth.

[0] https://www.theguardian.com/commentisfree/2012/aug/29/corres... [1] https://wikileaks.org/opcw-douma/releases/ [2] https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Church_Committee [3] https://www.nytimes.com/1977/12/27/archives/cia-established-...

Not the original commentor.

As a longer time and now former NYT reader, it has definitely fallen off. It's abandoned balance and objectivity for trite left-leaning talking points. The breakup came when I realized I could not longer trust it to inform me to the depth and breadth I needed.

At this point, it's an average news publication - notice I didn't say journalism - riding on the fumes of its history. It's not bad. But every since the internet its become more and more generic.

You could try readly.com. It's around 12 USD/month for a huge amount of magazines and news papers.

These aggregators usually do not include 100% of the papers's content.

The magazines you can read on Readly are the full prints at least. Like a pdf-version of the hard copy magazine. I tried it for a couple of months and I did not see any difference or pages missing.

Just pick one to support. You can still visit all 5.

Preferably a local paper.

Thank you for the thoughtful explanation. I never thought about it from that angle before, that is such a powerful move from Amazon that I believe most of us can learn something from.

It's also known as "commoditise your complement": https://gwern.net/complement

"I'm sure we could learn something from how Amazon contributes to the destruction of something already both so fragile and crucial, the press" isn't exactly a good look, but go ahead.

> that is such a powerful move from Amazon that I believe most of us can learn something from.

I don't think that was the intended message here.

Except customers will just leave Amazon. Like they are doing with Music, and Video, and Prime. This move disadvantages everyone except Amazon. It should be investigated by SEC.

If customers leave Amazon surely that disadvantages Amazon too?

I've seen how they've made it harder and harder to download your entire music collection, as well as how they're pushing their music streaming.

At this point I'm just waiting for the same thing to happen to their ala cart music service, and it's very disappointing.

The NYT has held their quality standards up pretty well, but most of the newspaper industry had already raced all the way to the bottom by the time Amazon ever launched the Kindle newsstand.

That ship basically sailed away a long time ago. Newspapers gave everything away for free, raced the content to the bottom, and then after nearly 20 years of that finally realized it didn't work.

The content in your online newspaper needs to be very, very good if you want $20-30/month to read it versus the aggregated news services wanting $9.99/month to read news from a wide swath of sources. NYT is good, but it's terrible at replacing your local news sources.

I remember, that in Slovakia we had something like an "Amazon Unlimited", it was called Piano, but it ultimately didn't work. The problem was, that for large publishers it was not profitable, and the system more or less favoured small publishers. But after a few largest publishers left the platform, the whole offering was weak and not worth it.

If that's the strategy, it's weird that not even WaPo (a Bezos property) is on Kindle Unlimited when announcing sun-setting newspaper subscriptions.

Horrific to see another business model get put on rails resulting in a lowering of quality. Reminds me of MSN firing their news team and having AI journalists write all the articles. Now you get large walls of text with no overall message that often times are devoid of any conclusions.

> Amazon would then pay the New York Times and all other periodicals an amount that Amazon thinks is fair based on how many people are reading their articles

Presumably this would only happen after the NYT has first paid Amazon for access to the platform.

Aside from the NY Times and maybe Conde Nast this will be Amazon squeezing blood from a stone. Most publishers are barely treading water right now and are getting killed by off-platform news consumption.

> Amazon wants you to have a subscription to Amazon Unlimited, which would include access to the New York Times. Amazon would then pay the New York Times and all other periodicals an amount that Amazon thinks is fair based on how many people are reading their articles, like Amazon Unlimited books.

The "spotify model".

It's pretty bad for content creators. It is great for the distribution platform in the middle position. I think it's arguably pretty good for consumers, at least initially -- but generally the point is locking in consumers to eventually squeeze them, and I don't think it's great for _society_, which of course effects "consumers".

Giblin and Doctorow's _Chokepoint Capitalism_ is worth checking out. https://www.penguinrandomhouse.com/books/710957/chokepoint-c...

Is Amazon Unlimited a different product than Kindle Unlimited?

The headline based selection process you describe has been going on for over a decade now. And yes, the damage has been bad.

So basically they're transitioning to the "extinguish" phase of their business model?

Amazon shuts down subscriptions for me while saying Kindle Unlimited is not available in my country.

In other words they’re begging to be regulated.

For a bunch of reasons I'm done with Kindle. For a decade (~2010-2020) I've bought hundreds of books and read quite a few on Kindle. But from late last year when I started reading physical books again (Kindle version wasn't available) I've gotten to appreciate the physical form again. Nice fonts, ease of flipping pages, random access etc., And as an added advantage my kids now get to see my taste and maybe find some of books interesting just because they are on a rack. I'm back to building my physical library. Could also be due to me growing old. But I don't want to beholden to Amazon's whims.

I like this idea a lot, but the size of many of the books I read constrains me. I can slip the kindle into my pocket when going on an errand and read while waiting in line, etc. A physical book -- even a "pocket" book -- would necessitate some sort of carrying vessel.

Similar for magazines. I did subscribe to print issues back when I spent long times commuting on a train because I could just as well bring a print issue then. But now that I move a lot by walking or biking and would prefer to avoid bringing a bag of stuff -- I don't see it as equally likely.

How do you deal with that?

I'm not the person you're responding to but I'm the same as them, having gone back to physical books. I don't take books with me on errands, I read saved articles on my phone. Going on holiday I make a small selection and just have to live with that restriction. It doesn't feel like a particular problem because I've made the conscious decision to do it. There are trade-offs, but for me they feel worth it. The upsides beside the improved (for me) aesthetic are that your book doesn't run out of battery (I recognise that Kindle batteries last for a long time though) and no people or systems know what I'm reading, where I've read to etc. I find the gamification of reading on Kindle - certificates, streaks etc - extremely off-putting. I also like having physical books on the shelf, as it's a much more pleasurable experience than scrolling through the books on a Kindle and can be much more serendipitous. It's also a nice way of reminding myself of the books I still have to read. There's a nice article on that here: https://bigthink.com/neuropsych/do-i-own-too-many-books/

These are more or less exactly my reasons.

Last decade I more or less binged on books. I was chasing some useless metrics like number of books read. But COVID induced mass isolation made me take things easy and go slow. Since then I've learned to enjoy the process of reading and I realised physical books enable exactly that. So I don't feel like losing out if I'm not reading when I'm on an errand or I've some free time on my hand. Now when I step out I just absorb the surroundings and if I've to wait out somewhere I just wait without doing anything.

Also, I've reduced my range of interests from about 10-12 to 2-3 and I simultaneously read 3-4 books to get different viewpoints. And I take it real slow. I go a few days without reading any page it's totally cool. It helps me absorb and internalise the content slowly and thoroughly.

And I'm really enjoying the process of re-building my physical library because this time I'm doing it more deliberately.

Yes, totally agree on the more mindful rebuilding of my physical library.

The cost of buying both the physical and kindle version ain't much more.

Or if you sail the high sees under letters of marque, you could buy the physical and "obtain" a digital copy.

If I read a book I constantly jump to the same line. With adjusted fonts, font size, line spacing I do not have these issues. My kindle is jailbroken and runs KOreader. Even more funny the lowest brightness setting 0 would still have backlight on (stock FW - Kindle PW3). This isn't the case anymore. I read in bed on the sides and nothing is more annoying than a big book to hold.

If I want to read fast I prefer one word on the screen at 250-450 words per minute.

Not to mention that the ebooks are not cheaper, or if they are not by much.

This was mind blowing to me. I can understand games did not become much cheaper by being electronic-only (though it did give rise to much cheaper indie games) but like 16 years ago when Kindle came out, I thought paperless books would slash the consumer prices by at least half. Turns out the publisher just increased their margins.

This is where used books win, and why physical books need to exist. I will never purchase a digital file for $9.99. I have however purchased PDFs directly from the writer's website, usually for no more than $5, which is OK.

>I will never purchase a digital file for $9.99.


While the author's share has not increased at all.

The cost of printing a mass-market paperback is under a dollar if you're doing a large run. A hardback is a few dollars. Producing the physical book has a negligible effect on the publisher's costs.

The moment you want to lend a friend a copy they are more expensive.

Lately I've taken to reading almost only classic literature; since books published before 1923 are in the public domain, the ebooks are very cheap indeed (i.e. completely free via Project Gutenberg).

The other advantage of this approach is that classic works are better than the books I was reading before, and there are enough of them to last me several years at least.

I only use my kindle to read books I didn't pay for.

There are plenty of books from the past without copyright restrictions! Think about all the catching up you could do!

Also, you can read pirated books on your kindle device.

I refuse to go back to physical books. The Kindle is far easier to hold than a physical book. Ultimately it is more portable, because all books are the same size, no matter how many pages they have, and I can read them on multiple devices. The fonts are adjustable, which my eyes are not. I can have thousands of books in my library, which I cannot contain in my house.

The advantages of Kindle (or similar eInk readers) are overwhelming to me. Are the prices too high? Maybe, but if they're the same as print prices, what am I losing? (Ignoring the question of DRM and whether or not I own my digital editions or not.)

From reading the article and its subsequent links, it sounds like they're trying to transition from a la carte purchases, to an all-in-one Netflix model. It's probably just a power play against publishers - swap to Kindle Unlimited and take a [presumably] smaller cut, or get nothing at all. And I'd expect it to work.

I've had a Kindle subscription to The Atlantic for a long time. I only look at it from time to time, but the price is low, and I don't feel guilty when I read their website for free. I couldn't quickly find out if they're even on Kindle Unlimited, and I don't read enough to make KU worth it.

"I'm sure that someone has a very good reason for the change."

Call me jaded, but the older I get the less faith I have that this is actually true.

Oh to be clear, I'm including "VP responsible gets a bonus". I certainly don't mean necessarily a good reason for the rest of us!

Absolutely agree on it being poorly communicated, only heard about in this thread!

In terms of alternatives, buying an Android powered E-reader and subscribing to the publication via the app or the e-newspaper service could work, although it will not be as optimized for E ink of course. The advantage of Boox and other Android E-readers is that you can access whatever you want, and the browsing experience for text heavy websites is decent.

Exactly! Especially since most mobile browsers have a decent reading mode these days.

Does Calibre still do a good job of fetching the entire NYT and emailing it to the Kindle each day?

I used to use that feature heavily for a good handful of news sites.

Basically Amazon went Spotify on Prints ass.

This has been doomed from the start. I bought the first kindle that supported this when it was introduced, I think it was around 2010 and have always occasionally bought issues here or there thinking it would improve.

The newspapers never wanted this to succeed. They always wanted to drive you to the website or make you buy the paper copy. They never were happy with the prices on the Kindle, and they couldn't deal with the fact that the Kindle editions didn't allow them unlimited ads.

My local big newspaper never even put all their sections into the kindle edition. They charged a lot for a subscription, but the website/digital edition of the paper was even more, they want about $30/month for access to the website even though it's completely loaded with ads. It's basically all too expensive and too low quality for what they want to charge versus what $30/month is expected to offer for other services on the internet.

I'm sure the newspapers hate it but stuff like Apple News+ has the right model. It's not a massive price gouge, the ads are there but are limited, and they do at least get some money, and iPads and such are a better place to read newspaper/magazine content then the kindle is.

I am really disappointed by this. These days, I mostly use my (fifth) Kindle when flying on aircraft, and there I mostly read The Economist or The Atlantic.

They don't publish offline media for laptops. I don't own a tablet. My phone battery is precious on trips. I guess I'll just look for paper copies at the terminal again...?

> They don't publish in an offline format for laptops. I don't own a tablet.

The conclusion to draw is that you clearly don't own your ereader either.

I mean DRM does not stop those unwilling to pay. If the only achievement of DRM is to annoy the people who are willing to pay, i wonder if it likely increases rather than reduces piracy. There is no reason why you shouldn't be able to be served an open epub with your magazine subscription.

I'm not sure who you're preaching to. I've owned five of these devices over the past 14 years. I accept DRM for the things I read on it. If the publishers offered a DRM-laden edition that I could read offline on my laptop, I would find that to be a compelling option.

Not to mention that DRM on the Kindle isn't a hardware-side constraint. The device will happily accept DRM-free files side-loaded onto it.

While maybe not what GP was getting at, it sounds like you're frustrated that they don't offer a format, not that they don't offer a DRM-free version. That sounds like being frustrated your owner only gives you dry kibble.

The problem isn't putting the content onto the device, that's very easy to do. The problem is that the content isn't being published in any offline-viewable formats anymore, so there's nothing to transfer.

For the Economist you should be able to download offline editions through the app- https://myaccount.economist.com/s/article/Whats-included-in-...

Is it really the same experience, though? In newsstand publications, you can swipe up/down to skip articles and there's a special 2-pane ToC that lets you navigate by sections. I'm not even sure if the epub format has the capability to provide magazine-specific integrations like these.

fyi, if you have a subscription to the Economist, you can read each edition offline via their mobile app. Available every Thursday.

You can also listen to it, but that doesnt work offline.

It does work offline. I don't remember the exact steps on how to do it.

Basically, you can get an rss feed with credentials imported into podcast app of your choice and just download the episode before going offline.

I prefer this approach since 1) It works offline 2) I can use podcast player of my choice with much better UX than the economist app

Ahh, you are saying the Economists app just uses RSS behind the scenes? Why didn't I think of that!?!

This actually solves real problems for me as I have to often drive through areas where I have no coverage, and I listen to the economist (much to the chagrin of my wife who is riding with me).


edit: Found the info, its actually on the Economists site (looks like you have to login):



Yup. That’s the link. You can just log in there if you have subscription and grab the rss url

It will look like


You can paste that into a podcast app of your choice. I use pocket casts on iOS which works with the above url for sure

Do people not fly with a USB battery on trips these days?

You can use Calibre to download the Economist each week and send it to your kindle.

Sure, but I wish I didn't have to jump through these hoops.

Did you know that airplanes have power outlets at foot level, sometimes USB ports higher up? You could simply bring your phone charger with you on the plane..

This varies by configuration. Some aircraft and airlines do not.

Only one out of the last 25 or so flights I’ve been on have an outlet.

For example, Southwest is one of the worlds largest airlines and didn’t have outlets on any of its 700+ airplanes. (Neither AC nor USB) They just announced they will start ordering jets with USB ports starting this year.

Also it is fairly common for short haul or regional jets to lack power outlets as well.

Surprising to hear that such a large airline wouldn't have power outlets in 2023 but perhaps it makes sense, because Southwest doesn't really do "long flights". Good info for fliers to be aware of.

For Southwest and short haul fliers, I would then recommend an USB battery bank. They come in large capacities now which would cover several full charges.

I no longer have USB-A, which is the only USB receptacle I’ve ever seen on a plane.

They make USB-A to USB-C adapters.

True, but if I'm traveling I'm not likely to bring a second phone charger cable just for this, especially because they can't charge as fast as USB-C cables. I bring a USB-C brick for my computer and USB-C to lightning cable for my iPhone.

Calibre from command line + email to Kindle works fine if you have any kind of machine that's online (or even a free tier Oracle VPS)

Can't you use the Kindle app on your laptop?

That doesn't help, the issue is these things are no longer going to be published on the Kindle platform at all.

I don't see how this helps? If I could get The Economist in the Kindle app, then I could still get it on my Kindle.

Why haven’t you invested in a open source alternative that doesn’t limit your choices?

What would an "open source alternative" to The Economist look like exactly?

I meant the e reader, not the economist, to clarify.

Ah yes, the DRM that is solved by buying a device which does not support said DRM.

Also there are many open source e readers, that include e ink technology too. Amazon tried but idk something’s off.. smells like Microsoft… a bit if you ask me :^)

You've not understood the problem.

The problem is not the devices that support DRM.

Many ereaders support some form of DRM, but that doesn't stop you reading both free and paid content without DRM.

The problem is that the content (Newspapers/Magazine) is not made available via a suitable medium to continue reading it on an ereader.

If you have an Overdrive Library subscription, you can try checking its magazine section to see if your library subscribes to the magazine(s) you read.

Locally, my Library has Time, Newsweek, The New Yorker, etc. It used to also have The Economist, but that appears to have recently vanished.

For subscriptions to SFF magazines, try WeightlessBooks which offers subscription to a number of magazines [1]

[1] https://weightlessbooks.com/category/magazine/

To my mind a significant part of the value proposition for the Kindle edition is you don't have to do anything and it just gets delivered to the device.

ah yea this was going to be my follow-up to the post you replied to, can I use the library app(s) (Overdrive, Libby, Axis, etc) to subscribe to new editions of these mags as they arrive at the library?

...the obvious answer from a business standpoint is of course for the magazines to not allow this, but I'm not going to remember to go look at some edition

Libby does have a smart tags feature that can be used to alert you about new magazines [1]. (Libby is the library app developed by Overdrive.)

> Can I be notified when new magazine issues are available?

> Yes! You can use a "Notify Me" smart tag in Libby to get a notification when new issues of a magazine are available at your library.

[1] https://help.libbyapp.com/en-us/6224.htm

I noticed the same thing re: The Economist through Libby (which I think is still Overdrive but prettier?). I wonder if The Economist is quickly pulling away from public libraries?

They just got added to PressReader. Economist was gone for a while from my library and related apps as a magazine. I could still read the articles.

> For subscriptions to SFF magazines, try WeightlessBooks which offers subscription to a number of magazines

No Asimov's at first glance. Asimov's do offer a non-amazon electronic subscription through some other web site, but it looks like it's only readable through their app. If I go off Kindle, I might as well go DRM free.

Yes, no Asimovs or Analog on WeightlessBooks, unfortunately. The Magazine of Fantasy and Science Ficton is there, though.

At least... F&SF is the other subscription I just lost :)

Some libraries might also have a digital newspaper subscription. Won't work on a Kindle but will work on a tablet and you can get eink tablets too now. Mine has most newspapers except the really big ones.

I wasn't able to find any integration with overdrive in Canada when I last tried the kindle. The Kobo's here do work seamlessly with overdrive but only for ebooks though, no magazines or audiobooks

Yes, the Kobo doesn't work with magazines either for me.

An alternative is to use the Libby App on the phone. You can also download the magazines for offline reading.

Or you could use the Libbyapp [1] on the browser to sign in to your Overdrive account, borrow and read the magazines.

[1] https://libbyapp.com/

yup. That's what I do right now when I want to check out magazines. Though, I will admit that's not often

With that being said, it would be amazing if Kobo can implement support for magazines so that you could use eink displays for reading magazines in a park on a sunny day without any glare

I believe it should be possible for some magazines. I read some issues of The Economist and National Geographic magazine, and they come with a 'reader mode' where the magazine page formatting is removed, and you are presented with bare text and images, like the Reader Mode in Firefox (and Chrome?).

That should work on a Kobo. But it requires Overdrive to recognize this and push the readable formatted magazine to the Kobo.

Kindle don't work with overdrive anywhere except for the United States.

What a huge step backwards! I have an infant and am trying to move more of my content consumption including news to Kindle vs iPhone. Even at one years old she’s already forming an unhealthy relationship with smart phones given how much she sees her parents using them so I’m trying to cut down as much as possible. Interestingly, like a physical book, the kindle doesn’t get much reaction from her.

Shameless plug: I build a tool to forward RSS feeds and newsletters to Kindle automatically[0]. While it could not replace the official periodicals, it works pretty well for my personal reading workflow.

Consider giving it a try if you’re looking for an alternative.

[0]: https://ktool.io

When Kindle first came out my kids were just starting to get into reading more, so I wrote a perl script to poll various RSS feed that emailed their own personalized "newsletter" to the Kindle for each of them. It was a fun project, but I don't think they paid it much attention. Eventually the feeds I was using all went defunct or threw so many errors I abandoned it.

I’m sure it was fun working on that project. Parsing web content and packaging into epub is so much fun.

But handling Amazon bugs is not :(

9€/month for Platinum, which is the only option with more than 5 RSS feeds, is a bit too much in my opinion.

I think if you could keep it sub-5€/$ you'd get a lot more subscribers.

Thanks for the suggestion. I gotta admit I’m constantly improving my profile. Your feedback is well noted and I am will work on it soon.

Yes, almost the price of a Kindle every year is too high just to send content, no matter how well done.

Is there a problem hitting the Kindle storage limit?

I’m thinking of setting up a service for the org I work at. I’ll give it a go!

Just signed up! This looks v good

Reminder that Calibre [https://calibre-ebook.com/about] has the ability to send news sources directly to your Kindle, handles news sources that require a subscription like the NYT [https://manual.calibre-ebook.com/news.html], as well as literally any RSS feed. The only thing Calibre needs is a better UI, but that's not too different from most OSS projects. It is better than anything Amazon could ever hope to offer and as a bonus you don't give the bald man more money to destroy society.

How is the data going from Calibre to the Kindle itself? Do you need to keep Calibre running on a machine that's also using the same wifi connection as your Kindle? Does the data get sent using the Kindle email address? Somehow through a Calibre server?

I was curious how this is done and couldn't find any information on the Calibre website. Thanks.

So, I haven't used my Kindle for a while, and the last one I have is a 2nd gen, but the options I know:

- Plug in your Kindle on your PC, let it sync manually. Calibre has an option to know if it already synced or not, and will automatically start the news sync the moment you plug it in.

- Send it through the email address. This does require Calibre to be running _somewhere_, on your desktop, your laptop, hell, even a phone port would be a great idea.

There might be things on wifi, but I've sticked to these two options. There's no Calibre server to speak of.

I think it's also possible to set up Calibre on a RPi (or similar) connected to the internet and have it send the azw3 files of the chosen rss feeds / newspaper feeds to a kindle via email.

What happens to people's back catalogs of old magazines? Can they still read those or is Amazon laughing all the way to the bank?

When i was a kid i lost my music collection to the yahoo music store shutting down, and it's left an impression on me even though it wasn't a very large collection. It's the reason why ive held out on buying an ereader until they drop the drm.

You can use a tool called Calibre to strip DRM from your ebooks. Also let's your side load them onto a different branded device so you're not locked in.

Eg. I moved from kindle to kobo and was able to bring my content with me

The DeDRM tools don’t work with lots of new books from Amazon. The days of easily stripped DRM on Amazon books seems to be coming to an end.

If you have an older Kindle, you can download the older format, I believe. I still have a Kindle DX for this.

True but it’s not ideal. You lose the typographic improvements that you get in the newer format. Still, it’s better than nothing and I’ve read that some people have purchased a used, older Kindle just to get access to the older file format.

Yes, you can still read those[1]:

> Will I lose access to issues for my Kindle Newsstand subscription that have already been delivered to my library? > No, you will continue to be able to read any issues already delivered by visiting Your Kindle Library.

[1] https://www.amazon.com/kindle-dbs/arp/B0BX8LN3BP

Get a Boox if you want a DRM-free e-reader. I read exclusively books and papers that I host on my home NAS; no DRM content. I use Calibre so I can read them on Phone, Tablet, or E-Reader from anywhere.

zlibrary dude

Vote with your wallet people. If you don't like this move (and what it implies), then spend your dollars somewhere other than Kindle/Amazon.

It is depressing how little Amazon cares about the Kindle, a device that would have seemed utterly magical 25 years ago as the internet matured, is just a low margin monopoly it maintains.

They obviously care about the Kindle a lot with respect to reading books. They have regularly designed new hardware and the hardware has gotten very good and very affordable.

The book side seems awesome. Magazines and newspapers have always just kind of sucked, and a lot of that is on the magazine and newspaper companies, not on Amazon. Why should Amazon pour money into it if sales are terrible because the Magazines and Newspapers sabotage the whole thing? The subscriptions & sales will never take off as long as it costs more than going to the website and the content is incomplete compared to visiting the website. And the navigation will always be more clumsy on the kindle. It makes for a perfect storm for content that you navigate around more than a book.

Right, the formatting and reading experience has been off. I know for a fact that Amazon does the heavy lifting in converting to ebook format and delivering it.

> low margin monopoly it maintains.

Please help me understand what you mean by monopoly. What is exclusive to Amazon? Aren't there competitors like Kobo, Onyx, etc?

A monopoly just means you control the prices of a particular market. Amazon, in my opinion, absolutely has control of the ebook market. If they lower prices, everyone else has to lower theirs to keep up.

> Amazon, in my opinion, absolutely has control of the ebook market. If they lower prices, everyone else has to lower theirs to keep up.

Uhm? Would you like to try explaining that again?

not OP but why would the average person buy a book from example.com for 15 dollars when Amazon sells it for 10? Here or there there might be a person who pays the extra 5 out of principle, but most people are going to buy from Amazon because that's what they know, and its cheaper anyway. In order to make money, other stores are going to need to match Amazon or beat it just to enter the public consciousness a little bit. Thats why Amazon kinda controls the ebook market

Am I correct in understanding you that you're saying companies shouldn't be able to sell at the lowest price they can sell at? How is that anti-competition, a monopoly?

Yes, because Amazon can afford to lose money that a small business cannot. They can unfairly "squeeze" small businesses out by taking a prolonged hit until the little guy can't afford to operate anymore. That's what makes them a monopoly, because they have an unfair advantage over smaller businesses. Looking through your comment history it seems you require a source for every little thing you disagree with, so here. Its called Price Dumping. Only reason Amazon hasn't done so is because they know the US and EU will smack them with a lawsuit they would not be able to win:


If we truly care about capitalism, we need to make sure that the little businesses get just as fair of a shot as the early adopters. The market cannot balance itself out if one player dominates all others.

> Looking through your comment history it seems you require a source for every little thing you disagree with,

Interesting approach to having a fruitful discussion. I would recommend defending your claim rather than attacking my comment history. Yes, I like to ask for sources when I see something which I perceive as a extraordinary claim. It is not my intend to offend you. My intent is to acquire new data that may cause me to change my perception. Currently, I have not changed my position or perception of this discussion.

I think I'll summarize the argument here and try to steelman the position opposite to mine. Your position is that a company that "dumps" or "takes a prolonged hit" is conclusively proven to be a monopoly. Therefore, I assume you also call Google a monopoly in the search space, and you also call Microsoft a monopoly in the operating system space. Is that correct?

search engines don't charge, so price dumping is not an issue. The only thing keeping them from being a monopoly is the fact that there are reasonable competitors and it is relatively easy to switch to a new search engine, and there are few drawbacks to doing so. There are nearly a monopoly, but there are a few reasons why anti-competition doesn't necessarily apply to them. that being said, until reasonable competitors DID start cropping up, they absolutely WERE a monopoly. Until Bing came out, they were the only real choice and dominated the entire search engine industry.

I do consider Microsoft a monopoly in the consumer operating system space, because nobody can reasonably compete against them. Who are you going to switch to? The only reasonable alternative for the average consumer is Apple which costs thousands of dollars, and also only has a 16% usage share vs Microsoft's 76%. That is extremely uneven and we have seen the detriments to Microsoft's market dominance already. If you have spent any time on the internet, you will realize that Windows 11 is very unpopular for a variety of reasons...for most people its the only choice they have to upgrade, and when support for Windows 10 drops there only choice will be either 11 or 12. If 12 has just as many issues as 11, they will have no choice but to just deal with it. It is a stagnant industry that once was vibrant with many competitors. The only reason Microsoft has market dominance now is because they committed anticompetitive practices in the 90s to shut down all competition. Both in the web browser industry, and in the Operating systems industry. By the time regulation came for their head, all reasonable competitors were already out of business.

The only cost-effective alternative is Linux. And don't get me wrong, I love Linux. However it is an unreasonable switch as it requires knowledge of the PC you are using, and the ability to install an OS yourself. Most people can't do that. After that, we have to assume that people know how to get their drivers working, and the slew of other issues. Its a common meme in the Linux space that "The Year of the Linux Desktop" will never come. It is also not sold with actual hardware outside of a few niche vendors that have no brick and mortar presence. Those vendors pander exclusively towards hobbyists because they know that grandma will just be confused, and mom and pop will balk at the price.

So yes, I consider Windows a monopoly. When people don't like the changes, their only choice is mostly to either deal with it, pay thousands of dollars for their competitor, or learn to be a tech geek and install a system that might not even work for their system. They need a serious affordable competitor, and that likely won't happen until either the inevitable antitrust lawsuit splits the company(this almost happened in 2002 but the judge was replaced with a Microsoft sympathizer that helped them maintain their monopoly.) happens or someone comes up with a reasonable competitor that can SOMEHOW compete with Microsoft. How they would do that, I don't know.

Now...as far as you go. Am I correct in believing that you think total market dominance is a GOOD thing? That a single vendor that controls the direction of the entire industry will ACTUALLY serve the best interests for the consumer? Like I said with Microsoft, that is not really the case. Microsoft doesn't actually give a damn what the public thinks, because people will have to upgrade anyway. They do insane privacy-invading telemetry because while people will complain, they also know that nobody can switch outside of people who are already technical or rich enough to buy Apple.

As far as me checking your comment history, yes. I check people's comment history to get a judgement of their character. It is extremely often I deal with shills, or someone who doesn't engage in honest discussion for whatever reason, or trolls. Considering the fact that you almost exclusively try to debate with people on monopolies regarding e-readers, I am starting to think that you have a vested interest in market dominance, either in the e-ink industry or the e-reader industry. Am I correct in that assumption?

Market share: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Usage_share_of_operating_syste...

Microsoft's anticompetitive practices: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Microsoft_litigation#Antitrust

Microsoft's telemetry: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=IT4vDfA_4NI

> Am I correct in believing that you think total market dominance is a GOOD thing?

No, you're wrong. I don't think that's a good thing. But I think it would be worse to invite politicians into controlling the market. Am I correct in believing that you think government should control who can do business and set prices?

> Considering the fact that you almost exclusively try to debate with people on monopolies regarding e-readers, I am starting to think that you have a vested interest in market dominance, either in the e-ink industry or the e-reader industry. Am I correct in that assumption?

No, you're mistaken. I have expertise in electrophoresis and involvement in the OLED display industry and know enough about the technology and display market to be able to dispute the 'outlandish' comments that I've seen. I debate in topics that I know well.

> Very disappointing. I had only recently discovered that I actually enjoy reading my local newspaper when it’s on the Kindle as opposed to the paper’s poorly designed website and frequently broken app.

Back when I had a NYT subscription, I'd use Ublock's element zapper to remove the "other article links block" that would show up halfway through an article. But still, reading it on a web page didn't feel right, so I used "Print to PDF" and never looked back. Now I have a personal archive of articles backed up and highlighted, ready for me to revisit even if my subscription has lapsed.

Not all sites work on "Reader Mode", but all sites can still be printed (for now).

Sure hope 2600 finds a new means of distribution. It was super convenient going to my Kindle and was a no-brainer to subscribe.

what will happen to the old 2600 magazines? I have been a subscriber since 2015. sad to see this going away

They need to at least provide an option for other publishers to also get their content on the kindle, other than Amazon’s own subscription service.

Otherwise they are using an advantage in one market (devices) to obtain an advantage in a different market (online content).

The EU will eat them alive if they try that anti-competitive behaviour.

They can by sending it to your Kindle email for that device. Instapaper does this to send you your saved items.

Good to know. So it’s just a free tier that’s being removed? That seems fair enough

It warrants an investigation, but maybe publishers don’t even distribute that much via Amazon devices. In this case, the competitive effects would be small.

FWIW the Apple News app has an incredible number of Magazines and Newspapers. News+ $10 monthly subscription is a solid deal.

I has the same problem as outlined higher up: it moves money from the newspaper to the tech moloch, that can then exert control over the news. The paper will be forced to "popularize" its article stream (Did Aliens Invade the White House?) to the detriment of free news gathering and democracy, all for 30 silver coins.

The problem is a lot of the papers and newspapers want more money for a subscription to one single magazine or newspaper than the entire Apple News+ subscription.

And especially the newspapers already dropped their content quality decades ago before things like Apple News or the Kindle even existed.

I don't need an incredible number of magazines and newspapers—I don't have time to an incredible number of magazines anyways. I only want a small handful of them that are high quality, that I can read by my bedside without a phone. Currently I'm just subscribed to The Economist via Amazon.

Apple News is the unhealthy model Amazon is trying to follow.

Yet again, Apple leads the market into digital feudalism, and their fanboys are happy to lead the charge.

It’s hard to say if it’s unhealthy or not. It’s basically the same model as Spotify. Is streaming music bad for the music industry? It’s not obvious to me what the answer is.

I subscribe to Apple News and the $120 / year is far, far more than I was spending on magazine subscriptions in the past.

You can't compare entertainment (music) with journalism. The economics are completely different. You'll listen to the same song dozens of times, you're not going to read the same news article dozens of times, for example.

I guess it does say a lot about the state of the press if people conflate the two so easily, though.

You’re missing the forest for the trees. Do the details of pay per play vs pay per read really matter?

The point is that because of service X, business Y gets more money from me than they would otherwise. How typical am I of service X subscribers? As a group, are rights holders getting more money from us or less?

A couple months ago I cancelled my Apple News+ subscription because they take too long to fix it when it breaks.

Several months ago all of the newspapers I was reading through it stopped updating, or slowed down to one or two stories a day. Over the next week or two they slowly improved and got back to normal.

But then it happened again. And this time they haven't fixed it. The Seattle Times newest stories are 15 weeks old now.

The San Jose Mercury News "Top Stories" section at the moment has stories with ages 1x1d, 2x1w, 1x2w, 1x3w, 1x4w, 1x6w, 2x8w, 2x9w, 1x12w, 1x14w, and so on.

It was similar for the Los Angeles Times and the Wall Street Journal when I cancelled. I don't know if they have been fixed or not since they are only in News+. The Seattle Times and the Mercury News are in regular News so I'm able to check them to see if they are fixed.

Still US-only though

Nice, but I can't find it on the play store.

There's something to be said for today's business model that much of big tech uses: "First we build it, then we get customers who love it, then we try to figure out how to monetize it- and kill it if we don't".

Google is, of course, the king of this model, but it feels as though the entire industry fully embraces it. I'm waiting for the day my Alexa shuts itself off forever because I still don't see how it makes a dime.

This is essentially Cory Doctorow's "Enshittification": <https://pluralistic.net/2023/01/21/potemkin-ai/#hey-guys>, briefly discussed here at <https://news.ycombinator.com/item?id=34480479>

Amazon is definitely making money on these subscriptions. IMHO, they simply want to make even more money by pushing everyone onto "Unlimited". Maybe more like "how to super-monetize it".

I read somewhere that it's a huge money loser for Amazon. Alexa being such a big part of Amazon's identity, could they shut it down without losing face though?

When you can't find the source of revenue then that generally means you are the source of revenue.

Hmm, with the changes at Amazon Music (on Sonos at least), this is the first time I've noticed some proper, consistent chipping away at the benefits of an Amazon Prime membership.

I jumped ship to Amazon after Google actively prevented me from paying them (!).

Time to stop lying to myself and go 100% local.

What was it they changed about Music?

If you use it through your Prime subscription you can now only listen to their playlists. You can't specify a specific album by a specific artist.

Prime Muzak, iow.

> Amazon hasn’t shared its exact reason for the change (the company’s statement to publishers is here), but one obvious explanation is that relatively few people are buying these subscriptions and it doesn’t make financial sense to continue to support them. Instead, Amazon wants publishers to add their content to its $9.99/month digital subscription program, Kindle Unlimited, which includes a bunch of magazines

I'm pretty confident that "Amazon wants publishers to add their content to Kindle Unlimited" is the ONLY reason, and that it wouldn't matter how much revenue was generated through direct payments to publishers. This is the Way, after all, of modern platform monopoly. It's highly profitable.

The more obvious explanation is that a lot of the Kindle team were let go in the recent layoffs, and there now isn't enough people to run the service so everything non-essential is going to shift people over to keeping the lights on (the same is happening to the remnants of the Comixology team).

This is to consolidate offerings, and drive more money to Amazon and less to 3rd parties. Just like retail, and skills. How is this not under investigation.

While I loved the kindle and still own one, I have since moved on an eink android reader with an isolated google account.

Calibre, Overdrive, RSS, Syncthing and obsidian plus a small portable Bluetooth keyboard and I can read and take notes anywhere.

You seem to be describing an Android tablet with e-ink display. Aside from Remarkable, what else is out there worth buying?

Supernote, Onyx have a wide range of options.

Onyx relationship with Open Source licensing is… delicate. This could be a stopper for some.

I had a Remarkable 1 but I feel the company is trying to be the next Apple. Everything now is subscription. Shame, as The reading experience was good, writing was excellent, software was open but clunky.

I can't wait until e-paper tablets become mainstream and more companies start making them. Having a generic OS like Android or Linux, instead of the closed off system of a kindle or whatever, would be amazing. Imagine how many different kinds of apps you can run on something like that.

With colour e-paper screens slowly picking up speed it's going to be even more interesting. Right now their quality is going to be disappointing if you expect the same quality as your phone or laptop, but it's an enormous step up from greyscale screens - and it's still getting better.

I used the Remarkable 1 for many years, until recently I got bored of hum converting hum my kindle library to epub to read on the remarkable.

I switched to an Onyx Boox Tab X (effectively an android tablet with eink screen) and wouldn't go back.

I have the Kindle reader app and can read very comfortably all my books, with the same comfort as with a Kindle device.

But I can also take meeting notes, brainstorm, etc thanks to the writing capabilities similar to the Remarkable.

As a bonus, I can also use it as a whiteboard in video calls.

> $879.99

Jeepers - not sure I am going to swap my $50 kindle for that one.

Calibre let's you convert in bulk fwiw

Indeed, but I was really over with the process of maintaining a Windows partition with a 10 years old version of the Kindle App, with updates disabled, for the sole purpose of manually downloading Kindle books for conversion to epub for transfer to the Remarkable.

Kobo Sage or Libra 2 are also worth a look.

Why? This makes no sense. Is it really that difficult for them to maintain?

Kindle in general doesn’t seem to make enough revenue to justify the engineering effort/expense. Its languished as a Bezos passion project and is being killed slowly.

They've released 11 generations of the hardware, I think it might be doing OK.

Again, having the founder and CEO use the product every day goes a long way

I think the reason for the shutdown of the service is that the price customers are actually willing to pay for news has decreased a lot since the web took over it. Nowadays there are so many free or cheap ways to get informed online that paying tens of dollars a month to subscribe to one or two newspapers seems relative expensive.

That's why successful outlets like The Economist put so much emphasis into convincing potential customers that accurate information is valuable. It sure is, but people have to be constantly reminded of it.

Deep down people value both entertainment and being informed. The issue is if someone isn't thinking the two look the same, especially if the enticing title is something you already believe. Clickbait journalism is just yellow journalism 2.0. We need desperately need some laws to setup some basic guardrails on what can be called and marketed as journalism or news.

Reader's price expectations had already dropped to $0.00/month before the Kindle newsstand launched.

The newspapers had already set the price to free for about 10-15 years before Amazon launched the Kindle newsstand.

The newspapers for the most part have still never made the online quality as good as the print copy too.

People cannot discount that these papers all put up free editions on the web for a long time and didn't realize the damage till the print subscriptions tanked.

I think not enough is made of the damage caused by aggregators. And I don't just mean like reddit I mean things like The Hill or Huff Po that pay for subscriptions to original reporting and then digest everything they write with a clickbait headline and leech all the ad dollars away from the people who did the hard work.

What I like about my subscription of the German weekly newspaper 'Die Zeit' is that they allow sending the mobi directly to your Send-To-Kindle-email address.

Are you aware of other magazines offering that?

Love that feature! Every wednesday, I get it automatically pushed to my kindle and it's fabulous! The only annoying part: it's not really optimised for a small screen and graphics are often left out, but hey, it's still great!

Damn. This was a really useful tool for me to manage all my magazine subscriptions without dealing with shady auto-renewal practices by publishers.

Try Apple News+

Apple News+ is digital-only. I really enjoy reading magazines, and Amazon had been managing most of my subscriptions until now.

Same, I prefer to unplug and read the physical magazines. Is there a decent alternative service for managing my physical magazine subscriptions?

I have 3 subscriptions that I only have because Amazon makes them easy to manage/renew/cancel

I recently went to the AWP Conference (https://www.awpwriter.org/). It was very interesting to walk around the exhibition hall and talk with all these small independent book publishers and presses. I bought a couple of books, one is a poetry book, which I confess, I have never bought a book of poetry before, but the author was there and signed it and I sort of fell in love with her and her poems.

I asked a number of the people from these independent publishers what they thought about Amazon. I was surprised at their answers, it varied of course but they agreed it was somewhat of a love hate relationship. On the one hand, Amazon gave them a marketplace, but on the other hand, they could be a bit of a malevolent master. There were also a number of literary magazines there and they had similar feelings.

I wish Amazon could find a way to do more to support the literary world, seeing all these brilliant little presses often who specialize in various genres that give new authors opportunities.

I built a service for reading RSS feeds on your Kindle in their newspaper format. As far as I know, I went the farthest compared to any competing service in terms of reproducing the format exactly with the highest fidelity and full feature set (it required a lot of time and stubborn effort to reverse engineer it).


Unfortunately it seems like they are discontinuing support for using the Send-to-Kindle functionality for .mobi files and I hadn't really been able to devote attention to it given some other things I had to attend to so it's now defunct.

If anyone has anymore information on the status of loading .mobi files onto a Kindle, I'd be interested to hear about it.

I had a paper subscription to The Economist through AMZN that I was planning to eliminate (subscribe directly) as part of a plan to eliminate all my recurring bills to AMZN and it’s convenient that they did it for me.

I subscribed to the NYT and a few magazines like The Atlantic when Kindle originally launched and really enjoyed the experience, but got out of the habit of reading them and dropped those subs long before prices went up. It was "too good to be true" from the beginning, and I think the knowledge it would just become another money pit contributed to my losing interest. Sort of like how that old Saab with its overheating engine helped me get over the allure of car ownership.

As an avid reader, I'm disappointed by Amazon's decision to discontinue individual newspaper and magazine subscriptions in favor of Kindle Unlimited. This change reduces my ability to support specific publications I value, potentially leading to less variety in the market.

It diminishes my sense of ownership, as content becomes more ephemeral within a subscription service.

I really can't wait for competitors to shake down this predatory monopoly.

Cutting off access to information in such a barbaric, offhanded way is the logical conclusion of the monopoly structure that enabled Amazon to do this without repercussion. A triple monopoly in this case Amazon/Kindle/ E ink.

This will disproportionately impact those who do not live in the US/UK and rely on their subscription as the only reasonable means of timely access.

I urge you to write to write to jeff@amazon.com to voice your displeasure.

> monopoly structure that enabled Amazon to do this without repercussion

What monopoly structure?

Eink: https://news.ycombinator.com/item?id=26143779

Combine that with Amazon's newstand dominance in Eink news delivery, and the end result is that newstand's closure leaves readers with no viable alternative.

Am I correct in describing above evidence as a throwaway claim on HN that was never substantiated and the throwaway account never responded to any requests for data?

Do you have any other evidence that you used to form your conclusion?

Here's hoping this encourages some online newspapers/periodicals to start releasing their digital editions as native EPUBs. I like to read with an e-reader, but I have a Kobo, and the only magazine I ever subscribed to that would give me an EPUB was LinuxJournal (R.I.P). Everything else was either PDF, or assumed you were hooked into the Kindle ecosystem.

So the individual subscription model directly competes with their Amazon Kindle unlimited. This is about harnessing control for themselves. And when control of journalism is harnessed directly by the corporations they can prevent bad news about Amazon from being published, and they definitely can prevent “false” news of Amazon, being published

I actually canceled my WaPo subscription because I couldn’t figure out how to remove it from my Kindle.

I get The New Yorker through Amazon, and it’s a much nicer experience using the Kindle app on my iPad than fooling around with the buggy New Yorker app. Shame. I will not, of course, be getting one of these Amazon subscriptions.

Almost every day there is a front page story on HN about some service shutting down, some account being locked without recourse, some purchased (licensed) media being clawed back from its owner (user) because the usage no longer serves the interests of the platform (or, is no longer estimated to be an optimal service of the platform's interests).

But at the same time the overwhelming sentiment here (I know - plurality of opinions, no true news-hacker, etc) is that decentralized compute platforms with strong guarantees on durable permissionless interoperability are, at best, a solution looking for a problem.

If this Amazon story disappoints, frustrates, frightens you, please consider for a moment that this is the problem that web3 wants to solve.

No one is saying that decentralized compute platforms are a problem.

Torrents, IPFS, seti.home etc... were quite popular.

It's blockchain that is the problem. It is the inherent massive massive waste and inefficiencies in that technology that prompts everyone to say that there are more efficent ways to do it, and in the end something that can do the same thing more efficiently is better.

I don't agree with this. web3 does nothing to be the size of a big box store (amazon, wal-mart, etc.) or creating the hardware to read it on, or having publishers sign up for it, or any of the marketing that goes along with it.

An drm-free .epub file is all someone needs for this to be solved. It's overkill to have some immutable record running until eternity for those that purchased People magazine.

To be clear, this doesn't affect subscriptions bought via Amazon that people read on the Kindle app on iPads and Android tablets?

Isn't the graph of magazine subscriptions pretty rough looking over the last decades?

I honestly found it a much more pleasant way to read the LRB than the print version but I guess it doesn't do much good to serve a small customer base.

When you have power, you use it...

Guidelines | FAQ | Lists | API | Security | Legal | Apply to YC | Contact