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Customer Review

977 of 1,021 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Very good electronic version, pricing not quite there yet., November 26, 2007
This review is from: The New York Times - Daily Edition for Kindle (Kindle Edition)
Update November 1, 2009:

My original review is now two years old, and I thought it's time for an update. Surprisingly nothing of consequence has changed. The Avantgo application that I refer to is no longer around. However I now just use the Times mobile site which has equivalent features; thanks to the Times for providing that service! I can view the Times' mobile site on my smartphone (which replaced my PDA) either thru wifi or over-the-air.

Like Avantgo the mobile site provides excellent color images. All-in-all the Times mobile site is perhaps even better than Avantgo used to be, the only downside is that it is 'streamed' in the sense that you must be on-line either with wifi or your phones data plan; you can't 'take it with you', like the Kindle edition. If you have an iPhone you will be even better off, since there is an App for that; using the App you don't need to be online as the content will be updated each time you open the App and cached on the iPhone.

One other informational note: many newspapers such as the Washington Post, London Times etc. have 'moble' sites now to capture the smartphone market. These are really excellent tools, since they are in large part advert-free, including just text and images. If you haven't tried them they are in many ways superior to the smartphone 'browser' experience being much faster and simpler to navigate.

Back to the NY Times Kindle editions: I have become something of a fan of single Sunday editions since the price is such a bargain, and I can read sections during the following week.

The Times web site has been vastly improved in many ways since my original review, so it is an even more compelling alternative setting aside the price (free). I'm pleased that the Times is evolving, we all have to root for their survival and success; I still maintain that their marketing dept should join the 21st. century along with their editorial staff.

--------- Original Review from 2007 follows ---------------

To put this review in perspective I've been reading the NY Times every day for several years on my PDA, as delivered electronically by [...]. That edition has been my 'gold standard' for e-reading because I can download it in just a few minutes as my coffee brews along with the Washington Post and London Times, and then read it as I have my coffee, or take it with me to read on a commute. (When I'm travelling I can get my daily dose of newspapers from avantgo as long as there is wifi nearby.)

NY Times recently made significant improvements to their avantgo edition, so it includes all the major sections of the paper. The articles are all text, no ads, and interestingly on the PDA the pictures are quite good and in color(!). But...although the main articles are included, many are not because of the format, space, whatever. Bottom line, there are still enough articles that I run out of time before I run out of articles. The only drawback (for me) is that the PDA form factor, while great for travel, is a little space-challenged. Nevertheless, as I mentioned, it's my 'gold standard' for electronic editions since I don't want to carry my laptop everywhere. And the avantgo service is free.

So I was pretty excited to compare the Kindle subscription edition with what I've been using. To cut to the chase I'm happy to report that, for me, the Kindle edition is far superior. There are many more articles, improved navigation and of course the form factor! I was overwhelmed with the Sunday edition which has the magazine and book reviews in addition to the regular news. All-in-all a great offering.

Now about the price of the subscription. I thought it was too high until I went and looked at the alternative offerings. Turns out it's half the price of the print edition, and just about the same price as the electronic edition. (Of course the web edition and avantgo are free in comparison.) So I can see where NY Times slotted this subscription, I have to say it fits in pretty well with the alternatives.

But...I'm afraid it won't succeed at this price. And that concerns me because I really want these Kindle subscriptions to be wild successes and stoke the Kindle experience itself. (Which is why I'm taking the time and trouble to write this review.)

The price point needs to be $9.95, or even $5.95 to get significant traction. People who will subscribe are not choosing between print and electronic, they are choosing between Kindle and free (web or PDA) electronic alternatives.

My claim here is that any income the NY Times gets from a Kindle subscription is incremental, and they are not going to capture these subscribers thru one of their other channels. In my own case I'm willing to go from a zero cost subscription to a paid subscription, but not at the current price.

I'm disappointed the Times doesn't seem to see the potential of e-delivery as offered by Kindle, at least as far as pricing their product to make it a wild success...
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Showing 1-10 of 29 posts in this discussion
Initial post: Dec 13, 2007 8:29:59 AM PST
J. Cumming says:
This is a very useful review and one that the New York Times decisionmakers should heed. What I found misleading was Amazon showing a facsimile copy of the Print edition as the picture to illustrate the sale of the Kindle edition. Kindle has none of the graphics and formatting of the Print edition. The Electronic Edition retains all those features. So, charging full Electronic Edition pricing (and more... there's no annual payment option) for the Kindle Edition is unjustified. Don't imagine that what you'll get on Kindle will look anything like the newspaper. It will simply look like a list of stories and switching between sections or scanning the pages for interesting articles is onerous.

Posted on Feb 8, 2008 7:57:56 AM PST
Louis Mahern says:
There is one other potential Kindle subscriber not mentioned in the above post, the would be subscriber who does not live at an address where home delivery is an option. I have had home delivery of the Times for nearly twenty years but am about to move to an address that does not have it. The idea that I can get it on a Kindle is one of the prime factors in my decision to purchase this technology. And my monthly bill will go from $46 per month to $14. I'll pay for my Kindle in the first year of my subscription to the NYT. I've got to believe that the ability to do the crossword on my Kindle won't be too far off.

Posted on Feb 13, 2008 8:03:01 PM PST
In my case, you are exactly right. I read the NY Times for free on the web. I was thinking... hmm... is this Kindle thing so cool that i would give up lugging my laptop to the coffee shop or on the bus? But the prices just seem to expensive. Maybe for $5 a month, i could be more inclined...

Posted on Apr 6, 2008 9:11:38 AM PDT
Last edited by the author on Apr 6, 2008 9:26:52 AM PDT
Many people will see the Kindle edition as very reasonable in price, as they may be able consider it a business expense, and therefore, a tax deduction or a business write off (ask your tax advisor). I can see why an individual subscriber may not "light" at the present price point for each publication, when it comes to the Wall Street Journal, the Washington Post, Investors Business Daily, or the NY Times. However, as a business person who could deduct this expense as a business tool or publication, I would think that the expense would not be a deterrent. I also live in an area where none of these papers are available on the day of publication, so "old news" received via snail mail, is worthless.

The cost of the Kindle device seemed high at first, for what it is. We know that Amazon is going to make money on each book or magazine which is downloaded. However, giving it some thought, it seems to be somewhat reasonable, as one could think of it as $1.00 per day, for the first year.

One question I have (and perhaps it has already been answered, but I did not see the answer), is, "can one buy an extended warranty for this device, in case it is lost, broken, or in some way needs repair?" We can do that for a cellular phone, so this device should be given the same sort of warranty option.

The only other question I have is that with any device, "firmware and/or software is often upgraded, especially with a new product. "Is this device able to accept both of these types of upgrades, and will they occur automatically?" Anyone with answers, please let us her from you. Thanks.

Lastly, consider that most business executives who would expense this item, whether or not it would be considered as a tax deduction or business expense, might not take the time to write a review. Thus, the number of people who indicate that these subscription prices may be too high, might not be representative of a large number of the actual subscribers to these publications who pay daily, weekly, or monthly, for the print copy of these publications.

In reply to an earlier post on Apr 21, 2008 8:06:49 PM PDT
Business expense? In what business?

Tax deduction? And the content you will read on it will always be for work? I'd think that would be a hard sell to the tax man.

Posted on May 4, 2008 2:54:18 PM PDT
B. Lee says:
The reviw is helpful. However, for those of us that no longer live in the NY area and still want to read the NY Times and have to pay $12.50 a week to read the NY Times, $13.99 a month is a steal. This is less than home delivery outside of the NY metro area.

Posted on May 4, 2008 2:57:20 PM PDT
B. Lee says:
Helpful review, however, for those that no longer live in the NY area and still want to read an almost complete edition, $13.99 is a bargain. As you go west, the cost to purchase the paper is $12.50 per week and home delivery is more than $13.99 per month. So some of us are grateul for $13.99 a month; could it be cheper absolutely.

Posted on May 30, 2008 5:35:39 PM PDT
Morningbird says:
I'm confused. There are several references to the cost of the electronic edition. What cost? It's free on my computer. But Capt'n Bob makes a valid point--comparing Kindle subscription cost to the NY Times print edition is meaningless. What is available on the web and in what format is the relevant comparison. I agree that $13/month is not competitive. I would buy a Kindle for it's news reading capability only (books, I don't think so), but not at these subscription prices.

In reply to an earlier post on Jun 24, 2008 2:42:00 PM PDT
sammarshall says:
Yes it is all very confusing. I have been reading the complete NY Times for at least 7 years on my computer. It is the same edition I would receive if I were in NY City. Metro section, ads and Saturday advance downloads of Book Review,Sunday Magazine etc. I tried shortened versions but I want to pick and choose. The free downloads are extensive and a good deal. However living in the Southwest I need as much of the NY edge as I can get. I am totally satisfied with my subsciption and it costs about $1.00 more a month than Kindle's price. I did not like the Mac format from my provider so I returned my Mac and bought a new PC

Posted on Jul 15, 2008 3:27:53 AM PDT
Last edited by the author on Sep 9, 2008 6:07:20 AM PDT
SocialLogic says:
Though the free online (web) version is accessible thru Kindle's Basic Web Browser, I found the actual Kindle version, more clean and more readable.

The adventage of the free web version is - it is more dynamic - it is constantly updated with new stories/articles, through-out the day. While, the Kindle version is updated just once a day.

I did not continue after the the 14 day trial period, because of the pricing. For me $7 would be OK.

Also, there should be an option for the subscribers to choose which sections they wish to be delivered (as all the sections that are available on web version, are not available for Kindle)
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