Watching the August 6, 2013 PBS News Hour presentation about the sale of The Washington Post newspaper to Mr. Bazos the father of Amazon, the Online retailer, reminded me of my view that fewer people purchase newspapers because fewer people can afford to.
Central to the some 83 odd year ownership and sale of the Post by the Graham family was a clip in which a woman is interviewed saying she no longer subscribes to newspapers; she gets her news Online. This clip appeared before the interview about the Graham family’s selling the paper to Mr. Graham’s 15 year buddy Mr. Bazos of Amazon, and was referred to by Mr Graham to confirm that the Post was having difficulty avoiding financial losses because more people were likely getting their news Online, and not because they had less money for newspaper subscriptions.
So selling the paper to Mr. Bazos seemed to further illustrate that competition with Online digital news was the usual reason print newspapers like the Post were losing readers and money, and so the Washington Post had to be sold to Graham’s old friend Mr. Bazos who better understood the newer electronic world. The Graham family’s apparent competition motives for selling their paper presented in the video clip and the Graham interview is one perspective about the demise of print reading losing to the increasing availability of Online news. But since business loss appears central to this sale and not better news coverage: free electronic news rather than directly purchased print news subscriptions, my view that papers are making less money because fewer people can afford subscriptions remains.
In a sense the decline of print and the rise of Online information may appear both coincidental, and perhaps causal, but regardless fewer people have the money to purchase things not necessary for survival. And the prices of all things have been rising for decades while incomes have stagnated for growing numbers of people not of the middle/professional class. The prices of some books have risen astronomically, and now in Canada the sale of books is taxed. Toronto’s Star has just doubled the price of its Thursday and Friday papers. And I recall some 20 years ago I used to purchase The Globe and Mail, Toronto’s most expensive newspaper, on my way to work. About 15 years ago I could not afford the expense. Twenty years ago the latest daily copy of The Globe and Mail used to litter public lounges. I can no longer recall when I last saw a discarded Globe, now priced nearly 10 times what it cost when I used to purchase it on my way to work.
This entry was posted in Economy, Media and tagged Amazon, Bazos, Graham, Newspaper Buying, Online, prices of some books, The Washington Post on August 7, 2013.