Can The Kindle Be The Future Of Newspapers?

While a great deal of effort has been put into supporting a supposed opposition between eReaders like the Kindle and traditional paper publications, there are some places where paper just wasn’t really cutting it even before the eReader came along.  Specifically, I’m thinking about newspapers.  It’s practically become a cliche to point out that most people get their news from the internet these days, when they aren’t just watching TV, because why wait until tomorrow to learn what’s happening today?  Deciding what needs to be done for traditional news vendors to stay relevant will probably be difficult, but it seems inevitable that things like the Kindle will play a large part.

Now, I can’t claim that this is a new thought, exactly.  The New York Times has found what appears to be one method for making the most of new technology.  Kindle subscribers, as well as Nook subscribers and anybody who wants to pay to get this benefit a la carte, can not only get their regular issues delivered but access the paper’s website in its entirety without any of the annoying restrictions that the average non-subscriber has to put up with.  While they have seen a decline in overall subscribers and ad revenue recently, the NYT reports a noticeable jump in Kindle subscribers.  There would seem to be other options, though.  There practically have to be since not every paper can leverage the kind of reputation that the NYT brings to the market.

My favorite theoretical idea, which I admittedly have no idea as to the practicality of, is inspired by the Barnes & Noble in store Nook experience.  Location based subscriptions that allow access to a publication or collection of publications, especially local ones, while on the premises.  It offers the same sort of benefits to the business doing the subscribing that having paper copies on hand would, which is not uncommon in coffee shops, libraries, etc, but without the bulk, waste, opportunity for damage, or potentially outdated news.  Just bring your Kindle or Nook in and read your paper over a drink. Learn how to open RPMSG file.

Ideas aside, since as I mentioned I can’t really judge the practicality of the many approaches that are available, one of the biggest issues will probably be a change in mindset.  Newspapers are traditionally reliant on their advertising revenue.  On something like a Kindle, you don’t have nearly as much space for that, even if you have an eReader-specific edition of your paper.  The native web browser even offers an impressively effective Article Mode that will remove them from anything a reader happens to be looking through on a paper’s website.  It isn’t like this is unique, given ad blocking extensions available for pretty much every web browser on the market.  About the only place that people are forced to look at ads when they don’t want to anymore is on paper.  It is a complicated problem, but the Kindle offers more potential than most options.  Something like the WOWIO eBook advertisement wrapping around a daily package of news delivery might just do the trick?

New York Times Kindle Access

Finally, the Kindle Edition of the New York Times has released full web access for Kindle and Nook subscribers.  The New York Times is one of the best newspapers in the world for many subject areas such as business and politcs.  I’m sure you are also familiar with their crossword puzzles.

Now you have more reading options and portability.  This has been in the works for several months so readers are certainly glad to finally see this option become available.

I admit that the $20 monthly fee is kind of steep, especially when it was just for access on the Kindle.  Also, as you are probably aware, the Kindle is not that great on graphics.  So, if you need to look up graphics or tables, you can get this via the NYT website.

Good to see newspapers and magazines reaching out to the digital audience in addition to the print audience. It appears that they are finding ways to bring in revenue from both sources.  Newspapers have been really hurting financially in the past few years.  The Kindle version is much easier on the environment too!  With e-readers and tablets cropping up all over the place, the digital market is certainly on the up and up.

I have a friend who leads a busy life and doesn’t have time to read newspapers.  So she catches up on them during vacation.  I can definitely see how e-readers and tablets can help in this area by just having one device to carry around.

Despite the e-reader and tablet revolution, I hope that appreciation for print and the work to create it will always remain.  There is something about the feel of the paper and smell of the fresh ink.  I think that both print and digital content can find a balance and coexist into the future.

Kindle Subscribers get around NYT Paywall

Here’s a situation where it’s a pleasant perk to be a Kindle user.  This week, the New York Times implemented a system called the paywall.  It’s an interesting system they’ve come up with to be able to make some money from their digital deliveries.  Readers will be able to access their first 20 news articles each month for free, and the subscription fee beyond that will be based on the device or devices that the user prefers to access their content on.

People who get their Times delivered to the front door in paper format will still get all the fun online stuff free as a perk.  Everybody else will get their set number of views and be faced with a decision.  If you want to be able to grab your news on a Smartphone, that’s $15 each month.  Tablet users will be billed $20 each month.  Anybody who wants the whole package for both types of device can expect to be paying $35.  These packages all include access to the website through any computer you happen to be sitting at, of course.  The extra charges are for the apps that make it more convenient and enjoyable.  Nobody really likes going through the website when they don’t have to, right?

While it sounds complicated and more than a little annoying, most people won’t notice a difference.  It seems that if you’re directed to a story via a link through a social network like Facebook or Twitter or even just a random blog, then you’re all good.  It doesn’t count beyond the normal limit of 20.  Unless you’re somebody who really loves the NYT site, and therefore probably exactly the sort of person they feel justified in asking a reasonable fee from, the fact that people are constantly linking these stories takes care of you.

Kindle users who have an existing subscription to the Times, however, are just fine.  While those who have subscriptions on other eReading devices are out of luck, the NYT plans to acknowledge all Kindle subscribers and allow them complete access to the site along the lines of that being offered to people receiving the paper at home.  Not a bad deal.

While many are skeptical about how useful a move this will be for the Times, especially in light of their previous unsuccessful attempt to create a for-pay section of their website, the extremely open nature of the plan is intriguing and shows an awareness of what brings readers to them in the first place.  Everybody who wants to will be able to share with their friends.  The site itself keeps track of things for you completely openly.  You even get access to an extra five free articles a day beyond the set limit when you use a search engine to find them.

I can completely understand wanting to incentivize the subscription plans, but it’s hard not to acknowledge that there’s a great deal of bending going on to make sure this isn’t a big inconvenience that could drive readers away.  Even those unlucky enough to have to deal with non- Kindle eReader NYT subscriptions will likely still get everything they want with little trouble.

New York Times Crossword Puzzles – Kindle Edition

Crossword Puzzle lovers take note!  You can get 4 volumes of the New York Times Crossword on your Kindle or Kindle DX for prices as low as $1.99.

Volume 1

Volume 1 includes 30 puzzles.  They are easy and a good set to start with before moving on to the more challenging volumes.  The puzzles include the option to check for errors and reveal one letter or the whole word.

Catherine Winterfox does a good breakdown of what is good and what’s not on Volume 1:

“The good:
–Clues are right where you can see them, both across and down.
–Everything is very readable.
–Answer checking is available.
–Fully interactive.

The not-so-good:
–The game doesn’t know where the next answer should be placed, so you have to scroll around a bit to get to a clue on the next line.
–It’s slow. There is significant lag time between typing and letters appearing, but you can type ahead.”

Volume 2

Volume 2 has great reviews.  It includes 90 puzzles: 30 Monday, 30 Tuesday and 30 Wednesday.  The price is a little more than Volume 1, but based on what you get, it is worth it.  If you are familiar with New York Times crosswords, you’ll know that the puzzles get progressively harder throughout the week.  I think I’ll stay on Monday…

D. Knight “Dee Dee”:

“I’m impressed with the screen and the user interface. You see the entire puzzle with all its clues, and the clue you are on is listed at the top. It is very clear. There are quite a few options that you can change including layout, font size, etc. The 5-way moves you around one block at a time with the center changing your orientation. The return moves you to the next clue. If you want to jump to a specific clue, <.> (period key) brings up a box where you can enter the number, no <alt> needed. All in all, very well thought out interface. If in doubt, press <menu> when the puzzle is up.”

Volume 3

Volume 3 is perfect if you are looking for a challenge.  Looks like even the experts are stumped…

K. Kilbourne:

“I usually am able to complete expert or challenging puzzles, but I haven’t even completed the first puzzle yet. I have been working on it, but am stumped by several of the clues. So be warned, these are truly challenging crosswords for the determined puzzler.”

Volume 4

Based on the review of Volume 4, it is a huge battery suck.  I’m not sure what version of the Kindle the reviewer has, but I am curious to know what makes Volume 4 so much more of a battery drain than the other ones.  You get a huge selection: 90 puzzles and they present a great challenge. Learn how to open WPS file and how to open AAE file.

New York Times Hikes Kindle Subscription Price

New York Times has recently announced that it is raising the price for Kindle subscriptions from $13.99 to $19.99 – a rise of whopping 43 percent. There is some respite for current Kindle subscribers, who will continue to be billed at $13.99 for the next six months. The Kindle edition of New York Times app has been very popular and allows readers to get news coverage of exceptional depth and breadth, as well as opinion that is thoughtful and stimulating.

The timing of this announcement is very interesting and coincides with the launch of Apple iPad in United States. In a related move, an iPad application for New York Times hit the iTunes App Store yesterday. The current NYT iPad app is free and offers a limited selection of automatically updated news, features, videos, etc. laid out with a newspapery feel and offline reading capability; it’s sponsored exclusively at launch by Chase Sapphire. It is expected that a full-fledged paid NYT app for iPad would be launched soon.

The New York Times subscription on the nook is also going up from $13.99 to $19.99. Like with the Kindle, existing nook subscribers will get 6 months at the old price. Many print media veterans have argued that digital subscriptions should be less than their analog counterparts, however the prices for digital editions continue to rise. I wonder if the Kindle vs. iPad battle will help the customers or will it further aggravate this pricing war?