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Jeff Bezos: people pay for a package, not a story
Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos announced last month that he was buying the Washington Post for $250 million. He’s been making the rounds at the paper talking to staff about his plans and vision.
But this caught my eye:
The Bezos plan for the news organization he has agreed to buy for $250 million centers on recreating the “daily ritual” of reading The Post as a bundle, not merely a series of individual stories. He was bullish about creating that experience on tablet computers, lukewarm about the prospects of doing so on the Web, and reassuring about the future of the old-fashioned newspaper itself – at least for the foreseeable future.
“People will buy a package,” Bezos said at one meeting of reporters and editors. “They will not pay for a story.”
That last line triggers two thoughts for me. Many have asked why fans buy print comic collections when all the comics are available online for free. To modify Bezo’s quote: “People will buy a package – they will not pay for a comic.”
My other thought: the success of the comics page in newspapers has been that it is a package deal. Many complain about how lame some comics are, but packages have to appeal to a wide group of readers. What is hilarious to you is lame to others and that’s as it should be because everyone’s tastes are different. A young cartoonists might complain about Blondie, Beetle Bailey and other “legacy” strips, but you have to admit they are often the most popular strips in the package and therefore drive eyeballs to the newer strips as well.