Would you read a newspaper online?

I recently discovered the the New York Times Reader while listening to Leo Laporte’s podcast on my drive home from work. It’s a very cool newspaper reader built on Windows Presentation Foundation. Surprisingly, the user experience is terrific and made me think that I could actually read a newspaper online. Since its built on the new .Net 3.0 runtime, it took a bit of time to download and install but after that it runs quite nicely. The text was easy to read and it surprising seemed like I was reading an actual newspaper. It probably works really well on a tablet PC.

For a limited time, the tool is offered for free but its very clear that they will be charging for the service soon. The following letter pops up when you register:

Dear Times Reader Beta Testers,

We want to thank you for your input during this free beta period. You and your fellow beta testers have been a great help in the development of Times Reader.

This note is to let you know that the beta period will be ending in two weeks. Times Reader will launch as a subscription service on March 27. It will cost $14.95 a month or $165 a year and will include access to TimesSelect and Premium Crosswords. Times Reader will be free to home delivery subscribers, including 7-day, weekend, Sunday only, weekday only, Book Review only, Large Type Weekly subscribers, and those who receive the special education rate.

Now, even though I liked the tool I don’t think I liked it enough to pay $14.95 a month. I would still prefer Google News, Slashdot, Digg and a random assortment of good blogs.


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