Kindle-ing while newspapers burn
Do they really think anyone wants to spend $489 to lug around a clunky 10.4- by 7.2-inch tablet to read a static (that is to say non-interactive) version of the paper?
In announcing the new jumbo Kindle today, Amazon.Com said pilot programs would be launched by the New York Times, Boston Globe and Washington Post to provide Kindle-friendly versions to subscribers who shell out for the e-readers.
But why? Of all the things that are wrong with newspapers, the format of the printed product isn’t one of them.
It’s true that you can get the news more rapidly on the web, satellite radio or Twitter. And you can watch videos anyplace from CNN to YouTube to your smart phone.
But nothing beats the convenience and portability of a well-organized newspaper.
A newspaper requires no batteries or AC current, can be read anyplace in all-but-blackout conditions, can be folded (unlike a jumbo Kindle) for convenient transport, can be clipped for coupons, can catch canary poop and can be responsibly recycled into cute flower pots (see below) in a way that electronic detritus cannot.
If you don't care to acquire your news interactively, a printed newspaper is a superior choice. And a daily paper is cheaper than a Kindle by about $488 per copy.
If you want a dose of interactive news, then you already can find the contents of your newspaper – generally available for free – on a PC, laptop, net book or iPhone.
Instead of trying to persuade consumers to adapt to an expensive, awkward and idiosyncratic gizmo like the wide-body Kindle, newspapers would be wiser to spend their time and resources optimizing their existing offerings for the interactive formats already in popular use.