Subject: times select needs reform
Dear Mr. Calame,
I’m a reader of the NYTimes, who has refused to sign up for Times
Select for the good reason that I buy the paper version of the
newspaper quite often already, and do not wish to double-pay for
articles I already have access to. Further, the online version often
doesn’t satisfy me in terms of graphics and photos the way the paper
version does. Lastly, I cannot sit on my computer in Central Park,
whereas I can sit on my paper on the Great Lawn.
I’ve been patiently hoping that the NYT would finally become
reasonable and offer single articles the way iTunes offers single
songs. If you use iTunes, you’ll have noticed that a single song
costs 99 cents. For 99 cents I can listen to a song as much as I
want, save it onto my computer, and transfer it to my new computer
when the time comes.
But Times Select seems to think that $4.95 is a reasonable price to
pay for the reading of a single article! What level of presumption
makes the NYT think that one article is worth nearly five times a
song, which is actually the result of talented writing, plus all the
production costs, and the work of more than one person?
When is Times Select going to become more reasonable? $4.95?????
That is simply obscene. The more I learn about TS, the more I refuse
to join in.
I’m an artist, a writer, a blogger, and I’m waiting for the NYTimes to
stop being an elitist newspaper. The introduction—and evolution—- of TS seems to indicate a setback in that dream. What you have is
online readers of first class and online readers of second class, not
a very gracious situation.
——————————————————————————————————— “NYTimes.com Billing Help”
Dear Ms. Johnson:
Thank you contacting The New York Times on the Web.
At this time, our readers who purchase The New York Times at newsstands are not eligible for the free subscription to
TimesSelect. However, we are looking into ways for these readers to have access to TimesSelect in the future.
Currently, we are offering a 14 Day Free Trial of TimesSelect. We hope you will decide to take advantage of this offer
to try the service. For more information, or to subscribe, please visit:
In regard to your comments concerning single article purchase, we would recommend a monthly subscription of TimesSelect. At the monthly rate of $7.95, you would be granted access to up to 100 articles free for the month. With that subscription, the single article value would be closer to .8 cents at the monthly rate or .3 cents at the annual rate of $49.95.
This is inarguably a better rate than Itunes.
With this concept, TimesSelect subscribers wouldn’t pay $4.95 for an article, only non subscribed customers who wish to purchase a single article. We believe TimesSelect offers a great value to customers interested in our Archives as well as our expanding unique content. Also, we have recently extended TimesSelect access to include articles dating back to 1851. Previously TimesSelect content only included content between 1981 to Present.
We deeply appreciate your readership, both online and off, and we hope you will continue to be a frequent user of our Web site.
Actually, Mr. Salinger, the monthly rate is great for anyone who
EXCLUSIVELY uses the online version of the NYTimes, and NEEDS to look
at a hundred articles a month.
That is simply not the case for someone like me, who uses both online
and the paper version of the newspaper. So the 99 cents option is
still more attractive to me, the punctual user of the online version.
If I ever needed to look at more than a hundred articles a month, I
might think of upgrading from a cheap 99 cent a cart rate. But 4.95
is ridiculous. You have to admit an article by Maureen Dowd isn’t
equivalent to a song by David Bowie, even if you don’t like David
Bowie. A lot more work went into that song. (And talent, but that’s
only my opinion!)
Think about it.
You should offer both options.
Carolita johnson———————————————————————————————————Reply“NYTimes.com Billing Help”
to carolita More options 9/7/06
Dear Ms. Johnson:
Thanks again for writing.
Both an article and a song/composition are considered intellectual property. Our intention is not to purport that our archive pricing reflects a greater artistic or financial value. However, the business model of a print organization cannot be examined in the same way.
You may also note that other online news organizations charge within the same range for archival purchases.
We do however appreciate your feedback and will share it with our colleagues.
We hope this helps.
to NYTimes.com More options 9/8/06
Dear Mr. Salinger,
Just for the record, I did take up the free trial offer of TS, and
found it was not worth the subscription price. I found that the
character of TS pieces was not very edifying. In particular, I was
rather offended by Joyce Purnick’s appeal to the public (through
TimesSelect, which isn’t available to the entire public!) on behalf of
two murdered Chinese women who she felt had not received enough
attention from the press, in comparison to murdered white women.
Why would she go TS in a bid to reach more people, when less people
can read it? Being in TS is like being in someone’s cozy living room,
safe from everything real, listening to some insulated journalist feel
free to blather on how he or she pleases, confident that someone has
paid to listen.
Yes, I have noticed a few other online news organizations charge
within the same range, but I don’t think they’re right either. I
think that online news organizations are not doing as well as they
could, and the reason is because someone thinks that charging a lot
for access (or making double-payers bear the burden of paying your
bills) is going to somehow make up for the drop in readership that
most newspapers are experiencing in modern times.
I do not think becoming greedy is going to help the situation. Maybe
I’d pay 4.95 for ah archival piece, but not for a piece that is out on
the newstands right now, today. That is TS. That’s just greedy.
I think that the new business could learn a lesson from the music
business, which finally sought a broader market by lowering its
But I appreciate you allowing me to engage you in this argument, since
there is no “fat chance” button on the Times Select page that offers
me a chance to pay or subscribe.