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Time Inc. Magazines Make It to the Kindle Fire, After All

It took some haggling, but Time Inc. is going to get its magazines on Amazon’s new tablet, alongside titles from many other big publishers.

Time Warner’s publishing unit told its employees this afternoon that five magazines — Time, Fortune, Sports Illustrated, People and Real Simple — would be available on the Kindle Fire tomorrow.

The announcement comes after negotiations that dragged on for weeks and continued through Tuesday morning — a process that baffled most of Time Inc.’s peers, who signed on to the new device in time for its September unveiling.

Supposedly, the major stumbling block for Time Inc. was that Amazon has retained the ability to set the retail price for the magazines it sells, which means it could theoretically slash prices or give away the magazines for free. That scenario would be a major bummer for all the publishers who have been diligently trying to convince subscribers and newsstand buyers that they’ve been underpaying for their reading material.

But Amazon has told Time’s competitors, like Condé Nast, Hearst and Meredith, that it doesn’t intend to beat down prices, and that assurance was apparently enough for them. Jeff Bewkes’ company apparently needed more convincing.

This never seemed to be an issue, by the way, with Barnes & Noble and its new Nook tablet; Time Inc. was a part of that gadget’s launch announcement.

Like the titles that Time Inc. sells via the iPad and other Android tablets, access to the Kindle Fire editions will come via bundled deals, where consumers pay a single price and get both paper and digital copies of their magazines.
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