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Kindle Blog headcount approaches 5,000, but … Readers? That’s another story

The explosive growth of the Kindle Store’s Blog selection, following the launch of Amazon’s Kindle Publishing For Blogs Beta Program about ten days ago, continues apace. We’re approaching 5,000 as I post this morning, up from about 1,500 prior to the beta:

Of course, nobody knows if any of the new blogs are gaining any traction, since — because of Amazon’s convenient 14-day free trial for all Kindle Store blogs and other periodicals — they won’t show up in publishers’ sales reports until at least 14 days after they go live. I can tell from my Amazon Associates report that a couple of hundred people followed the link in my New Kindle Blogs for Your Consideration post to check out the page for this blog, but that doesn’t tell me if any of them were moved to click for the trial once they got there. We’ll see. What we can tell — based on the fact that no Kindle blog ranks in the top 18,000 titles overall in the Kindle Store — is that nobody, not even Ariana, is living in the lovely world envisioned by the GeekMBA360 post to which I linked a few days back:

Let’s say that you can attract 5% of the overall Kindle user base, which is 50,000. The total monthly revenue from your blog would be $100,000. Amazon will get $70,000 while you get $30,000. You get paid at a rate of $0.6/user.

To put it another way, my considerable experience with the relationship between Kindle Store sales rankings and actual units sold says that there are fewer than a handful of all Kindle blogs that are currently averaging more than 1 or 2 sales per day. I wish I could put this more sweetly.

There are various reasons for this:

  • On the way to becoming the upload society we may have forgotten, or left ourselves without sufficient time, to continue fulfilling our responsibilities as the download society. It’s just another wrinkle in that old curveball epitomized in the widely observed notion that we have more poets than poetry-readers.
  • Blogs, they’re just not that into you. Blog reading isn’t nearly as big a deal as book reading for most people, or, more precisely, for Kindle owners.
  • Then there’s the one that makes you say “Duh,” or, perhaps, if you are a Kindle blogger, “D’oh.” Blogs are free everywhere else but in the Kindle Store, and you can get them pushed to your Kindle via the services that work with RSS feeds and other aggregation processes. While I have tried to make the case that it can be convenient in various ways to have them pushed to your Kindle in something close to real time, it would be insane to think that people will beat down the doors of the Kindle Store to pay for something that is free everywhere else.

Maybe there’s one more thing that we as Kindle owners and readers can influence in a positive way. While it is true that the 14-day trial takes the financial risk out of checking out a blog in the Kindle Store before we invest 99 cents a month, that does not address the perhaps more significant risk that we might waste our valuable time reading stuff that we don’t care or need to read.

Unfortunately, there is little for us to go on in terms of the kind of reader feedback that often helps us connect with interesting or distinctive or simply very good work among books in their Amazon store incarnation. As of this morning when I took the above screen shot, as you can see, there were only 221 customer reviews for all of the 4,915 blogs in the Kindle Store. There’s a customer feedback system that is not working.

So, I suggest that we as Kindle Nation citizens might want to exercise a bit of civic responsibility rating and writing brief reviews of blogs on their Kindle Store pages when we have something to say about them. A couple of lines, or a couple of minutes, is really all it should take. You’ll find a link to read or write reviews near the top of any blog’s detail page, just below some pithy line such as: “The Kindling point for thousands of Amazon Kindle owners.”