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September 2009
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Time Inc. Creating Their Own eReader?

According to a leaked internal document, Time Inc. may release their own eReader device.  Consumers would be able to buy subscriptions to Time publications (such as Time, Sports Illustrated, and People) in bundles that would be delivered to the device together.  Time’s plans also mention the strategy of forming a joint venture with other companies to share the new platform.

Besides the bundling of subscriptions, and a desire to create a “consumer-facing brand” for the gadget, it’s not really clear what the marketing strategy will be.  If Time tries to sell the device for super cheap, or even give it a way for free, they will need to rely on a surge of subscriptions due to the ease of “bundling.”  If the device is too expensive, people either won’t be convinced to switch to eInk or they will choose a more general device like the Kindle.

Speaking of which, Time magazine is already available on the Kindle.  Since eReaders are already available that offer magazine subscriptions, anything produced by Time will need to find a way to compete against Amazon.  A full color reader that completely mimicked a real magazine could be successful, but I’m not sure how they could keep the price of the device low enough.  Nobody will shell big bucks for something that is limited to only a handful of magazines.

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