Earlier this month, I did something rather unusual for 2020: I switched my subscription to the New York Times from a digital subscription to an old-fashioned home-delivery print edition.
I have had a subscription to the New York Times, in some one form or another, for as long as I can remember, even before I moved to city in 2001. While still living in Santa Barbara in the late 1990s and at the urging of one of my college professors, I subscribed to the New York Times at the same time I was receiving home delivery of the Los Angeles Times. Let’s just say that my recycling bins were never so full as they were during that era. I continued the subscription when I moved to New York, and it followed me from one apartment to another. Finally, in 2010, while living in Long Island City, I frustratingly gazed at my overflowing paper-recycling bin and decided that my print-news era was over. I switched to a digital subscription.
Yet in 2020, when almost every aspect of my life exists in “cyberspace,” I decided to restart home delivery of the print edition. Let this sink in: I am now paying someone to bring over many sheets of paper to my home just so I can get the news, as if there was no other way to get it.
Here are some reasons why I switched to home delivery of the print edition:
- Over the summer, I often go to the beach and prefer to read the news in print. I can’t read my phone or tablet under the bright, hot sun.
- No stores in my East Williamsburg–Bushwick neighborhood carry the New York Times anymore. Only a handful of bodegas even sell newspapers, but those few only carry the New York Daily News, the New York Post, and/or a Spanish-language daily.
- I have access to a 50%-off academic rate, otherwise this would be completely unaffordable.
- It comes with two bonus digital subscriptions. I gave one to my dad and another to a bartender in the neighborhood who used to do the crossword everyday until “all this happened.”
- It’s a much more pleasant and focused experience to read the news in print than it is to drink from the proverbial firehose that is getting news online, especially on social media and especially in “these times.”
- I had money in my Subscriptions budget after cancelling my AT&T TV Now “skinny bundle.” I soured on the package once it had swelled from an affordable $10/month package in 2016 to a bloated $35/month, including subsidies for the right-wing news outlets as One American News Network and Fox News.
Earlier today, after a month of receiving the paper on Saturdays and Sundays, I upgraded the subscription from weekends-only to seven-day delivery because I have enjoyed reading news in print so much. Also, in the age of the virus, where I don’t have to leave my apartment for work anymore, going downstairs to fetch the paper every morning seems like a nice healthy ritual.
All I need now is just a bigger recycling bin.