Newspapers Are Dead. Long Live Newspapersby Kent Lewis on May 6, 2009Newspaper
A rash of articles have recently discussed how a big screen e-reader such as the soon-to-be launched Kindle has the potential to rescue/save newspapers because more people will be willing to subscribe to the newspapers online than in its paper form.
This is simply not the case as a number of detractors pointed out. Users can already get their news/commentary from a variety of sources online without having to pay a subscription.
Regardless of the large availability of free content online, the Kindle still may save the newspapers in the end.
Newspapers merely need to adapt the model developed by mobile phone carriers.
Simply put, people want the latest in technology but don’t necessarily want to pay for it. Throngs of customers continue to flock to AT&T, locking themselves into multi-year contracts in order to save money on the iPhone.
In much the same way Apple’s iPhone saved AT&T from the throes of poor customer service, Amazon’s Kindle is poised to save newspapers from becoming obsolete.
The newest version of the Kindle is expected to retail at close to $500. Amazon has given permission to the newspapers to subsidize the Kindle in exchange for a long-term subscription to the paper. Get your iPhone for $200 by locking into AT&T for two years. Get your Kindle for $300 by locking into an online subscription to the New York Times and Washington Post for two years.
Judging by Americans’ behavior in the past, my guess is a lot of people will gladly pay $30/month for the next two years in subscription fees to two prominent papers in exchange for an immediate discount on the hottest new gadget.
I leave you with a Kindle limerick strangely available in the Kindle forums on Amazon.com:
I once took my Kindle to a store
That sold Paper books, mags and more;
I got funny looks
When I downloaded books
And, empty-handed, walked out the door.