Monday, March 24, 2014

Stepping back in time: resubscribing to a paper & ink newspaper

I subscribed to the SF Chronicle for years, maybe fifteen years at my current address alone. It's not the NY Times, but it's a paper that carries local Bay Area news and -- unlike the NYT -- you can read it over breakfast and stand a chance of making it to work on time. Compared to the SF Chron of my childhood, the paper is slimmed down so far you can practically read it over orange juice.

Anyway, price spikes, spotty delivery service, and a confluence of personal circumstances that left my partner and me ready to take a break from longstanding news-over-breakfast habits, led to cancellation of our subscription in late 2012. We ignored a number of 'please come back' offers since.

Then, earlier this month, the Chron sent an offer we couldn't refuse: seven-days-a-week delivery for a year for $99. Okay, not a year; fifty weeks. But still. We bit. Yesterday our delivery started.

First impressions: compared to the unbelievably slow-loading web site at SFGate.com, my ink and paper news is fantastically easy to skim! That's what I like most about news printed on paper, even compared to the fast, fat-pipe network connection I enjoy at work. Negligible 'load time'; for a fast reader and news-skimmer, the difference is huge.

I also took note of stories I would likely have missed over the last couple of days if I hadn't read the news in paper form -- things that wouldn't necessarily make the SFGate home page, assuming I had the patience to wait out the load time -- and I probably wouldn't have found by intertube-accident. Here are a few:
Will it be worth the $99 to get the SF Chronicle in print for the better part of a year? At that price, it'll pretty much be worth it if all I do with the delivered papers is train a puppy. (Note to landlord: not getting a puppy, stand down please.)

Will it be worth paying full price? ($99, said the mailer, is 84% off 'regular' price -- my calculator tells me that makes 'regular' price more than $600/year.) Nope. I kinda doubt I'll ever pay more than $50/month for the SF Chron.

But we'll cross that bridge when we get there in about a year.


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Thanks to Another Believer by way of Wikimedia Commons for the image of the SF Chronicle's building at 5th and Mission Streets in San Francisco.

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