Wednesday, June 25, 2008

Some Great E-book Newspaper Questions

Mark Viquesney from MATEC Networks and the TechSpectives Blog posted some interesting questions in response to my blog post Electronic Newspapers Save Time, Money, Gasoline and Excess Calories. I decided to answer his questions with a new entry. His questions and my answers follow.

Question 1: Is the cost per year for a Kindle version of the paper cheaper than the normal paper?

On the newsstand the Boston Globe costs $2.50 for the Sunday edition and $.75 for the Monday-Saturday editions. In a 30 day month figure there are 4 Sundays per month and 26 other days. Doing a quick calculation:

(4 Sundays/month)*($2.50/Sunday) + (26 other days/month)*($.75/other day) = $29.50 per month

We also have to figure on the cost of mileage/wear and tear when I’m away on vacation and have to drive to pick up the paper. The federal travel reimbursement rate just went up to 58 cents per mile and it’s a 14 mile round trip to the store:

($.58/mile)*(14 miles/day) = $8.12 per day

In a 30 day month:

($8.12/day)*(30 days/month) = $243.60 per month

Adding things up for the month we’re looking at:

($29.50 per month for the paper) + ($243.60/month for gas and wear and tear on the car) = $273.10 per month buying the paper the old fashioned way.

The electronic version of the Globe for the Kindle sells for $9.99 per month and there is no driving required.

Question 2
: How many pounds of paper have you saved by not buying papers?

I'm making a rough estimate here but let's figure the Monday-Saturday editions weigh .5 lbs and the Sunday editions weigh 2 lbs - I don't have printed edition papers here because I now get them electronically!

(.5 lbs/Non-Sunday copy)*(26 days) + (2 lbs/Sunday copy)*(4 days) = 21 lbs of newspaper per month that I am not consuming

Question 3: Would you buy a Kindle paper that was cheaper if it had the ads in it like a normal paper? Or would you rather just skip all the ads all the time and pay more up front?

I'm not a fan of ads so I don't miss them at all. $9.99 per month is reasonable for me so I would not be interested in a cheaper version with ads. If it was free - well - that would be pretty tempting!

Once I got used to the smaller screen, I find the reading experience much better on the Kindle. For example, I'm not starting an article on one page and being directed to another page to finish reading it. I've also got a built in dictionary if I get stuck on a word and I can highlight and export text if I find something interesting. And....... (this is my favorite) nothing gets thrown away. Daily copies are archived on my Kindle in a search-able format. Have you ever wanted to refer back to something you read in a paper maybe 2 weeks or a month ago? That paper is likely long gone and using newspaper websites commonly requires paying to access older content. I've got it all on my 10 ounce Kindle.

Thanks Mark V. for these great questions!

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