Businessweek.com technology writer Arik Hesseldahl cancelled his four newspaper subscriptions for an entire month and fed his addiction with Amazon’s new Kindle instead.
The Kindle e-reader gives a user access to 19 daily newspapers (including The New York Times and The Wall Street Journal), which can be subscribed to through the web, downloaded daily onto the paperback-sized device and read virtually anywhere.
Overall, Hesseldahl said he didn’t mind getting his daily dose through the hand held device, and noted the added bonus of banishing a fair bit of environmental guilt over the sheer volume of paper he consumes every morning with his coffee.
Although he did have some advice for the designers of the device.
What’s missing are some of the visual conventions of the printed page. Headlines on the articles of Kindle-ized newspapers are all the same size, and so they lack the emotional punch conveyed by big, screaming 80-point type. When reading a newspaper on the Kindle, the first thing you see is a list of front-page stories from that day’s printed edition, but there’s no visual representation of the front page itself. Pictures are also a problem. More often than not, no pictures whatsoever accompany stories, and when they do, they don’t register well on the Kindle screen.
On a more positive note, he said Kindle is certainly a cost effective choice.
It also makes financial sense. A combined year’s subscription to the Times and the Journal costs about [US]$880. The combined purchase price of the Kindle, plus a year’s worth of subscriptions to the Kindle editions—granted, not quite an equal product—amounts to a total of only $647, a savings of $233 in the first year. Assuming all the prices stay the same, the savings climbs to more than $500 in the second year. Plus, there’s no delivery person to tip at the end of the year.
Currently no Canadian newspapers are available through Kindle. International papers offered include the International Herald Tribune, the Frankfurter Allgemeine and Le Monde among others. Magazine offerings range from Newsweek to the Atlantic to Reader’s Digest (USA).
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