It’s no secret that publishers have been frustrated with Apple and the high-handed way it’s dealt with them as they negotiate to get their content on the iPad. There’s little they can do, though—given Apple’s utter domination of the tablet market, there’s been no truly viable alternative. But the power dynamic might be about to change.
A new color tablet from Amazon, which could reportedly launch as early as October, might end up being the iPad alternative publishers have been so desperate for. Time Inc. and Rodale are among those expected to have titles on the device at launch.
The terms will be similar to those of the iPad, but publishing execs have told Adweek there are signs that Amazon would be more flexible than Apple, which has demanded a 30 percent cut of sales and refused to share customer info.
Amazon also will take a 30 percent cut, but it backed down from its original demand for 40 percent, said one source. Amazon will also provide readers’ email addresses to publishers, and will let users try an app before buying, another said.
Amazon’s perceived flexibility could, in turn, lead to more openness from publishers. Time Inc. hasn’t agreed to Apple’s iTunes subscription terms, but Amazon’s more favorable terms have it looking to offer subscriptions on its tablet.
Publishers are excited about the tablet’s potential for mass magazines because of its low price point (reportedly around $250), which would play to their audiences.