Silicon Alley Insider (Digital Business, live!), Nicholas Carlson, has done some arithmetic, and reckons it would be cheaper for the New York Times to send everyone an amazon kindle than print and deliver the paper each day.
Not that he recommends it to the publisher, but after doing his sums he came up with a figure of $644 million delivery costs per year. This is on the basis that the NYT spends $63 million per quarter on raw material and $148 million on wages and benefits. (What about the trucks that deliver the bundles to the stands? And the man who tosses the paper on your stoop?)
In a recent open letter NYT spokesperson Catherine Mathis said that there are 630,000 loyal readers who have faithfully subscribed for more than two years.
Sending all those people a free kindle would cost a little less than half, apparently.
What Carlson hasn't factored in is that the NYT comes online everyday, so is already absolutely free. One wonders how they do it.