Why I Will No Longer Buy The New York Times
I have been a daily buyer of The New York Times for as long as the paper has been on sale in West Michigan. Buying at the newsstand (for me, Starbucks during the work week, the local bookstore on weekends) is the only option hereabouts; home delivery is not available this far west of the Hudson.
But the economy is difficult, life is expensive and we must tighten our belts. I bring up the new personal austerity because at Starbucks today, the daily newsstand price of The New York Times increased from $1.50 to $2--as it did everywhere in the hinterlands. On June 7, the price of the Sunday New York Times will increase from $5 to $6. In the meantime, of course, both the daily and Sunday Times are available for free on the internet.
Let's do some simple math--the kind I generally like, but the kind which, in this instance, makes me wince. 300 daily (paper) issues of The New York Times at $2 per copy will henceforth cost me $600 per year. 50 Sunday (paper) issues of the Times at $6 per copy will cost me $300 per year. That's $900 per year ($600 + $300 = $900) for the luxury of reading The New York Times in its traditional paper format.
In Economics 101, we learn that there is a point at which an increasing price will drive down demand; a place on that legendary curve where consumers go without or substitute from higher priced goods into other, less costly, goods. I am afraid we've reached that point at S@4A.M. I do not consider the internet version of The New York Times to be an entirely adequate substitute for the paper version--primarily because I like to "scan the page" of a traditionally formatted newspaper, and I am sure I will miss a great deal of information because the on-screen, internet format of The New York Times doesn't facilitate this. I also find it comforting to hide behind a copy of the Times at lunch, assuring no one will bother me. Now I will have to become more outgoing, or begin reading Derrida (in French) to maintain my noon-hour privacy screen.
I also worry that if everyone "does the math" as I have, it may be the death of The New York Times. In this economy, I don't think the Sulzbergers can continue giving away free content online and still sell enough $2 copies to keep the paper viable.
But my concern right now is my personal economy. Sacrifices must be made, and at $2 daily and $6 on Sunday, I am at my tipping point on the demand curve. The paper version of The New York Times is a luxury I can no longer afford.
A sad day, this.