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Amazon's Kindle Compass Stealth Launch Annoys Kindle Users

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Amazon launched the Kindle Compass, a Kindle-based magazine, without fanfare at the end of last week - and annoyed some Kindle users by suggesting that they had been automatically subscribed to a publication that would cost them money, according to eBookNewser.

The company later released a statement apologizing for any confusion, stating that the subscription was currently available only to randomly chosen Kindle users, and that it would "always be free."

This has obviously been in the planning for a while, since Fusible.com reported that Amazon registered the domain name "kindlecompass.com" back in June 2011. The web address is currently not active.

In an email to one of Kindle Compass's unwitting subscribers, Amazon describe it as "an editorial magazine designed to help customers get the most out of their Kindle reading experience."

Early users report that its content is currently very similar to the Seattle-based company's existing Omnivoracious blog, which runs blogposts about books as well as video interviews with authors.

Considering the size of its potential audience, Omnivoracious currently has very few comments from users, and little presence in the book-reading community. The new Kindle Compass e-magazine could well be an attempt to better leverage their book-focused editorial content, and perhaps replace or augment Omnivoracious's coverage in an e-reader format.

There is also another possible reason for the new e-magazine's launch. Potential rival website Bookish, bankrolled by Hachette, Simon & Schuster and Penguin, is due to launch later this year, featuring editorial-driven content alongside the option to buy digital and physical books.

The Kindle Compass may be an early attempt from Amazon to cover similar territory, using editorial content in order to encourage Kindle owners to purchase more ebooks, direct from the Kindle store.

At the time of writing, Amazon had not responded to a request for comment.


(Disclosure: AOL, the parent company of The Huffington Post, is providing advertising and traffic support for Bookish.)

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