Let me explain. I grew up reading The New York Times. And I grew up reading it cover-to-cover. Well, pretty much, anyway. But then you did something I never understood. You stopped charging me for your paper - a paper I placed a great deal of personal value in, and one that I would argue is the greatest newspaper ever published. So great, in fact, that I was actually happy to pay for it. And because I paid for it, I felt like I earned the privilege of reading it. Then you started giving it to me for free, and everything changed.
Actually, you didn't just start giving it to me for free. You started giving it to me faster, and more conveniently online .You even started giving me its content before it got printed in your newspaper. So I stopped reading your paper. Not because I didn't like it anymore, but because it was simply easier, and less expensive for me to read it electronically.
But something else started happening. The more I read it electronically, the less of its total content I read. And it didn't matter what platform I read it on. The NYT.com home page on my PC, or the email subscriptions you pushed into my inbox, or the stories I found through Google News, or through my Android smartphone app. Life just got too busy, and your digital versions just got too easy to focus only on the news and information that was important to me at that very moment. So I stopped reading much of The New York Times, and you started becoming less relevant to me. This made me very sad, because I think that reading your paper made me a smarter and better informed person, because I would discover things I hadn't intended to read. I'd mark them up with pens, clip them and pass them on to friends, family and other people that mattered. Sure, I've also done that electronically with your nifty little email-to-a-friend digital app, but it's different. I can't explain. It just is.
There is something really important about your newspaper, the printed version, and as good as your electronic editions are, they are just a different, less tactile experience. Growing up reading The New York Times, I often felt like I was absorbing its content through my fingertips. Well, yes, I did that too, but I never regretted having to wash my hands after doing so, and I will tell you, I truly miss those ink-stained digits. All the digital digits you publish online will never replace that experience.
So thank for announcing today that you are going to once again start charging me to read your paper's contents online, because now you've given me just the economic incentive I needed to start subscribing to your print edition again. And I'm looking forward to that, ink-stained fingers and all.