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The Amazon Chronicles

posted by Jason Kottke   Jan 28, 2019

My pal and collaborator Tim Carmody is launching a newsletter all about Amazon called Amazon Chronicles. You can subscribe here and read the statement of purpose here. I’m thinking of it as Daring Fireball but for Amazon instead of Apple.

There’s no shortage of good Amazon stories, and good Amazon coverage. I loved Kashmir Hill’s story for Gizmodo about trying (somewhat unsuccessfully) to block Amazon from her life. I loved John Herrman’s exposé on Vine reviewers. I think stories like this are just as important and just as interesting (more so, actually) as the latest on Jeff Bezos’s sex life or speculation about Amazon’s earnings and stock price. I like stories that help me see how a company like Amazon, with its tangled web of services and products, entwines itself into our lives, both consumer and commercial.

But who is going to gather stories like these and help put them into context? Who, really, is able to take the time to get the big picture when it comes to what’s intermittently the biggest and most influential company in the world?

Tim has been covering the Amazon beat from all angles since before the company became one of the most valuable in the world (including recently on kottke.org), so he’s well-positioned to take up this gathering challenge.1 Tim is also applying the Unlocking the Commons approach that has worked well for the kottke.org membership program with a slight wrinkle:

So, here’s the deal. This newsletter — which I’m calling The Amazon Chronicles — will sell paid memberships. These will be $5/month, or $50/year. It will also offer free subscriptions. These will cost nothing.

As long as I get at least 200 paid subscribers (let’s call them “members”), free subscribers will get all the same newsletters members get (give or take housekeeping emails that will only make sense to folks who are paying money).

Essentially, the whole site will be free to anyone who signs up. That will be a newsletter a week, rounding up the biggest and best Amazon coverage, plus original reporting and analysis. The same newsletter, for everybody.

I just subscribed at the annual level…join me, won’t you?

  1. If you’ve been following his work on kottke.org and on Noticing, you know that this gathering will come with a heaping side helping of fresh and razor-sharp analysis about the company and media in general. In fact, the gathering will likely turn into the side helping over time as the newsletter gathers steam.

    (I also find it hilarious that Tim is currently writing two newsletters: one that aggregates the activities of one of the largest companies in the world and the other that aggregates the activities of a tiny independent media concern.)