Saturday, 28 March 2009

The future of newspapers?

Via the Slate, here's an article about the costs of printing newspapers, against the costs of the new Amazon Kindle.

The numbers:
According to the Times's Q308 10-Q, the company spends $63 million per quarter
on raw materials and $148 million on wages and benefits. We've heard the wages
and benefits for just the newsroom are about $200 million per year.After
multiplying the quarterly costs by four and subtracting that $200 million out, a
rough estimate for the Times's delivery costs would be $644 million per year.The
Kindle retails for $359. In a recent open letter, Times spokesperson Catherine
Mathis wrote: "We have 830,000 loyal readers who have subscribed to The New York
Times for more than two years." Multiply those numbers together and you get $297
million -- a little less than half as much as $644 million.And here's the thing:
a source with knowledge of the real numbers tells us we're so low in our
estimate of the Times's printing costs that we're not even in the ballpark.

If those figures grossly understate the difference, what future do newspapers have?

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