Newspapers are dirt cheap these days. If you’ve always dreamed of owning one, it’s time to scoop one up. The headline took a lot of people by surprise: Jeff Bezos, CEO of Amazon, bought the Washington Post. What, like he downloaded it on his Kindle? No, he bought the entire paper from the Washington Post Company for $250 million in cash. [More]
print is dead
We at Consumerist will always pause and let a few subscription cards flutter to the ground out of respect when we hear that yet another print magazine has ceased printing. The final edition of Newsweek is all over the news this week, but another title that’s actually relevant to our generation stops printing and goes online-only at the end of the year: Spin. In the grand tradition of magazines going out of print, though, subscribers will receive a tangentially related title instead: Car and Driver. [More]
If you came of age in the 1980s or early 1990s, your internet was called the encyclopedia. You probably haven’t touched one in decades, and apparently neither has anyone else because they pretty much no longer exist in their old form. Encyclopedia Britannica drove a long-overdue stake into the heart of the outmoded medium by announcing it won’t print a 2012 edition, making the 2010 version of its biennial set its last.
Led by the likes of The Wall Street Journal and The New York Times, the rest of the newspaper industry is gradually attempting an experiment to charge readers for stuff it’s always given away for free. Newspaper giant Gannett revealed that it’s sticking 80 of its community newspapers’ websites behind pay walls. USA Today web content will remain free for now.
Millions of people who had given their email addresses to The New York Times were incorrectly told Wednesday morning that they had canceled their subscriptions. The accidental email to 8 million readers caused confusion, leaving subscribers scrambling to see what was wrong with their accounts while befuddling those who didn’t subscribe. After initially declaring the email was a spam attack, the paper copped to the fact that an employee sent the email and apologized for the accident in a second mass email.
Kids who tagged along with their parents on grocery store trips in the early 1990s just to spend the duration in the magazine aisle paging through GamePro magazine will have to kiss another piece of their childhoods goodbye. After abandoning the monthly format for a quarterly model this year, the magazine has ceased production entirely. Also, the website will shut down by Dec. 6.
In a paradigm shift that will either help make newspapers more profitable or prove their dwindling relevance, 23 newspapers owned by MediaNews Group followed the lead of The Wall Street Journal and New York Times by shaking down would-be online freeloaders for a monthly fee. The program includes MediaNews’s smaller papers, including the Daily Democrat (Woodland, Calif.), Sentinel & Enterprise (Fitchburg, Mass.) and Daily Times (Farmington, NM).
The publishing industry may be struggling, but you wouldn’t know it from the success of some ebook writers, including one who has become the first self-published author to sell 1 million Kindle downloads.
Add phone books to the growing list of things that will one day make you feel old for living in a time in which they existed. The California Public Utilities Commission approved Verizon’s request that the residential white pages would no longer be delivered statewide automatically. Yellow Pages, and government and business listings will still be distributed.
Traditional media’s trudge into the tar pits may benefit greedy local politicians who can get away with more chicanery when obsessive reporters aren’t breathing down their necks. According to an FCC report, there’s a major shortage of local news media ready to potentially hold local officials accountable for their actions.
It seems that in the world of comic books, the equivalent of getting a sports car and a mistress when confronted with mortality is a wholesale shake-up that includes renumbered issues, new uniforms for its heroes and a focus on digital delivery. DC Comics, the home of Batman, Superman and Wonder Woman, is attempting to reinvent itself in the face of falling print sales before it’s too late.
Newspaper executives are forced to come up with increasingly clever maneuvers to stave off bankruptcy. Lee Enterprises, which owns the St. Louis Post-Dispatch, my daytime employer, the Arizona Daily Star, and several small-town papers will reportedly resort to selling off its debt as junk bonds in order to prevent vulture investors from swooping in and picking at its carcass.
Aggressive subscription renewals are nothing new in the dying field of magazines. But reader Ben was a little surprised when the first thing he received as a new subscriber to Wired wasn’t a welcome letter or a magazine. It was a solicitation to re-up for another year.
The most surprising thing about the Pew Project’s State of the News Media study findings isn’t that online news is more popular than print, it’s that it took so long for the perceived reality of the past several years to come to fruition. As a result, newsrooms have shed workers as well as readers, operating with 30 percent less manpower than they did in 2001.
Pay walls haven’t seen much success in the world of traditional media, but the Dallas Morning News is trying its hand at the brick and mortar. The newspaper will allow its print subscribers to view all content online, and will partition off some stories from readers without a $34 print or $17 monthly digital subscription. Digital-only subscriptions will allow readers to view content through browsers or via iPod or iPhone apps.