Thursday, April 16, 2009

Kindle Offers Free U.S. News For a Year

With the April 15 release of the Pittsburgh Tribune-Review on the Kindle, owners can now get a full year of domestic newspaper subscriptions absolutely free.

Granted, cycling through 14-day trial subs of all 26 domestic papers Amazon now offers for the Kindle would certainly require some serious dedication. But the result would be a free education comprised of a broad range of news voices. Besides the old-school stalwarts like the Los Angeles Times, New York Times and Washington Post, the fare includes more topic-specific rags like Investor's Business Daily and the Wall Street Journal, plus Politico, which is mostly associated with its online presence and not the free print version that makes the rounds in D.C.

For me, this represents a benchmark of sorts at a time when the newspaper industry finds itself in a life-or-death struggle. As someone who came from a print background, I've lamented the loss of one daily after another with colleagues. But I see a potential for rebirth in devices like the Kindle, which replicate the old model by charging a reasonable fee and "delivering" the paper to your virtual door.

The chance to nab a free year of newspapers might appeal to the freebie-lover in all of us. But I also hope it leads to more people exposing themselves to a (hopefully) higher standard of journalism, and ultimately choosing to support an important industry by picking a favorite and ordering a regular subscription.

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