Monday, January 11, 2010


According to an article in The Business Insider...
it costs the [New York] Times about twice as much money to print and deliver the newspaper over a year as it would cost to send each of its subscribers a brand new Amazon Kindle instead.
Here's how we did the math:
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 costrs that we're not even in the ballpark.
Read the full article here. Although, as I'm looking at it...the Kindle retails for $259 not $359. I know because I just bought a new one. I wonder if any of the other figures are off. Hmmmmm.

Anyhow, a quick note about the slew of book reviews that I posted a week or so ago. I've been taking notes about books I read for a really long time, more systematically as time goes by, but these proto-reviews are scattered all over the place.

A lot of them are really old, and some are probably incomprehensible to anyone who hasn't just finished reading the book in question. Not really written for an audience, which means, ultimately, that they're less useful to me - the person they were written for - years down the road. Live and learn I guess.

Anyhow, my memories of these books aren't fresh so I'm not mucking up the old reviews, just copying them out.

There are so many more to hunt down...but I think a catalogue will be kind of interesting. I'm surprised, for example, that the first reviews I wrote of Sebald's books weren't glowing - he's become one of my favorite authors. In general, the proportion of negative reviews is surprising to me.

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