MSM|September 14, 2011| Author: Kim LaCapria|Tags: , , , ,

Amazon, Hearst Ink Content and E-Commerce Deal Ahead of Kindle Tablet Launch

Massive online retailer Amazon and publisher Hearst are getting hot and heavy with a wide-ranging expansion of their business relationship, announced in a press release today.

The “multi-faceted consumer marketing, e-commerce and content relationship” has implications for both of the large companies, although the specifics are a bit loosely defined. Under the terms of the deal, Amazon will become the single-largest third-party seller of Hearst’s print titles through their digital channels, and Hearst will work with Amazon in an unspecified capacity involving e-commerce. Amazon customers will have “access to content” from Hearst to some degree, though whether the content will be exclusive to Amazon or culled from some or all Hearst titles was not clarified.

It seems likely the deal will involve Kindle a lot, especially as the gory deets on the expected Kindle tablet are anticipated any day now- and first up commenting on the deals from Amazon in the release is Kindle’s SVP, Steve Kessel:

“Hearst is one of the world’s leading diversified media companies and we are delighted to work with them on this multi-pronged deal.”

Hearst president David Carey added:

“This bridge between one of the best platform and technology companies and our premier media and content company gives Hearst and Amazon a launching pad to take both our businesses to the next level. Amazon values exceptional content and we are excited about the possibilities. We look forward to working with the Amazon team.”

The release goes on to say that Hearst has sold four million magazine subscriptions via the internet and expects the Amazon partnership to boost that number significantly. But what we’d really like to know is whether the announcement of the deal coupled with the Amazon tablet means Hearst is looking to push digital editions in a far bigger way- or that the company is looking to start phasing out the glossy printed page to a degree.