one of the interesting things about the kindle is that you can get newspapers and magazines for it. for the Sony reader, it is possible to use some third-party software to do this, but the results are not too great. so how does newspaper reading on the kindle work? and how is it?
first, you have to wade through the mountains of available material, a grand total of 11 newspapers and 8 magazines. that kind of diversity makes countries like russia or korea look like publishing powerhouses.
i subscribed to the New York Times ($13.99/month) and to the Frankfurter Allgemeine ($14.99), which is kind of nice, because i would never get a subscription to the paper version of a german newspaper in california. that's the theory.
in practice, reading a newspaper on the kindle just sucks. the display is way too small, and useful navigation is more or less non-existent, which means that you are forced to page linearly through literally hundreds of tiny virtual pages. this is just not fun, and not want you want to do.
my guess is that the bad navigation is a combination of both the inherent limitations of the kindle's content format, and less than perfect processing to get the newspaper contents into that format. but unless there is some better way to get some kind of overview and navigate based on that, the kindle is just not appropriate for newspapers.
what i find most troubling is the fact that most people will probably see this as some kind of
proof that reading newspapers on e-books sucks. it really doesn't have to, it's just the kindle that sucks, and it is not that hard to come up with something better. it may still be worse than the good old paper version you can easily browse, but at least it could be something usable.
the other thing is pricing. because the usability of the newspaper is so bad, it should be dirt-cheap, and it isn't. and because i would like to subscribe to various newspapers (more than i would ever subscribe to for paper versions), things still become pretty expensive and there should be a steep volume discount, but there is none.
this would be the ideal platform to do something smart: content delivery is controlled and safe due to the kindle's DRM, so amazon could give me the second newspaper for half the regular price, and the third for a quarter of the price, and so forth, and would then split the money equally among the newspapers. but either amazon lacks the clear-sightedness to see this, or the newspapers are too greedy and want the full price for each subscriber. it absolutely amazes me to see how little the publishing folks think about how they could take advantage of the unique properties of a personal electronic delivery platform.
i will cancel my newspaper subscriptions after the trial period, continue to read the NYT on paper, and the FAZ will not get any money from me. do your homework regarding electronic publishing, and then make me a better offer than this.