Some say that the newspaper is dead and I have to disagree but they do need to change how the operate if they are to survive in today’s world. I am forty-years-old so I naturally grew up on newspapers in the 70’s, 80’s and 90’s and even today I need to have one but how I get it has changed dramatically since those days. Back when I was growing up there was such a thing as a paperboy or a kid riding around on his bicycle throwing papers onto peoples porches I am quite sure those days are long gone but up until December of 2010 I still have my daily paper delivered in that fashion but an adult. Today I get The New York Times delivered via a 3G network on my Barnes & Noble Nook.
Growing up in New Jersey we wither got The Daily Record or The Star Ledger my father opting for the latter of the two most often. The Ledger was produced out of Newark NJ and it was a bigger more statewide paper is more then likely the reason because the Record was a smaller Morris and Sussex county paper where we actually lived. Everyday like clockwork there was the paper on the kitchen table with the crossword already filled out waiting for me and my sister to read at our leisure. These are some of the memories of my childhood that I cling to but all that has changed since.
I first started to read The New York Times when I had a current affairs class that required a write up of a news story daily. This began my love affair with the Times that over twenty-three years has not changed. Some people glean their news from the talking heads on TV, others by reading things online I prefer a paper still to this day. I just can’t explain why other then it is the most in depth way to know what is really going on in the world around us. TV news carries snippets and sound bites but the stories are just abbreviated to fit the time allotments so they can show commercials. Internet news I feel is the same way just in a more written form plus I never got the hang of reading something on a computer screen and retaining it for very long; this means I am tactile in nature. Enter the Nook.
When I first got it I was getting the Washington Post and I loved it to pieces but I have switched to The New York Times which to me is a better paper and more well designed for a digital delivery. Now I get all content no ads and I do not get the box scores or sigh the crossword puzzle but these are small sacrifices to pay for a $19.99 a month fee as apposed to around $72.00 it would cost me to actually buy the paper every day. As you can see I can get almost four months on my Nook for one month of the print edition. My local paper The Denver Post is also available for the Nook for $6.00 a month but I am not all that interested in it being I feel it is written for an eighth grade education level.
About a week ago I sent the Times an email telling them how they can place ads in my digital paper and not piss me off. It is a simple plan really and it would work to a tee to get them some ad revenue from my paper. How the paper works is every section has a skim the stories portion where I highlight what I want to read and hit a button and that article pops up on my screen so why not place ads there every four or five screens? This would force me to see the ad for at least two or three seconds as I continue to skim the section for the content I wish to read. Doing it this way I have no choice but to see the ad and it will not interrupt my reading of an article.
I feel that E-Readers like the Nook, the strangely named Kindle (It is a book reader and kindle is used to make fires is why I say it is a strange name) and the iPad are the way of the future for today’s newspapers to survive. The fact that there is zero production cost past formatting the paper for the device it is to be delivered on is also a huge plus for the papers. I love getting a paper everyday of the magnitude of the Times and having no paper to throw away when I am done reading it.
Now I also get The Nation and The New Yorker on my Nook and I am aware that this is taking revenue away from the USPS but at the same time it is so much cheaper to receive both this way that I cannot feel bad. They are both the same all content no ads and they can also use my ad suggestion to place a few ads in there for extra monies from my digital subscription. I am also aware that a lot of people cannot afford an E-Reader myself included if it was not for my sister buying it for me last Christmas but if someone that is paying for a paper or magazine looks at the savings from a digital subscription they just might be able to save enough for a basic entry level reader like I have. The only extra I have on mine is the G3 because I do not run a wireless network in my condo so I need it in order to get content from it.
I do not believe that newspapers and magazines are dead I just think they need to embrace this new method of delivery in order to survive today’s climate. I still by books but ninety percent of it is Literary Journals that I cannot get in a digital format. Now I stated earlier that I am tactile and the Nook fills this gap for me really nicely since I have to hold it in order to read on it but I will admit that I miss the smell of newspapers and books sometimes but the comfort of reading a really long book and not having to hold it is well worth it to me. I am not saying that this method of reading is the best for everyone but it seems to be for me with my carpel tunnel syndrome riddled hands. In conclusion I will just state that if it were not for my Nook there would be no way for me to be able to afford The Times or anything else so for those of us that are in poverty this may be our ticket to cheap well written content.