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2 newspapers offer Sony e-reader deals

By Andrew Vanacore
Associated Press / December 18, 2009

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NEW YORK - The Wall Street Journal and the New York Post are offering exclusive subscription deals through the latest electronic reader from Sony Corp.

Sony’s new Reader Daily Edition, which sells for about $400, will be the only e-reader that carries the Post. Readers will have to pay $9.99 a month. And the Journal, which is available for $14.99 a month as it is on Amazon.com Inc.’s Kindle device, will have an optional aftermarket update for Sony subscribers for $5 more.

Both newspapers are owned by News Corp., whose chairman, Rupert Murdoch, has criticized the newspaper reading experience on the Kindle and taken aim at Amazon for offering publishers only one-third of the subscription revenue. News Corp. and Sony officials won’t say how they plan to share revenue.

The push into e-readers by newspapers and magazines is part of a bid for more sustainable revenue streams as publishers face staggering declines in print advertising, the traditional money stream for news operations.

In a separate venture, News Corp. has joined Time Inc., Conde Nast, Hearst Corp. and Meredith Corp. - whose titles include Time, Cosmopolitan and Sports Illustrated among others - aimed at developing better digital editions.

The new Sony device, which went on sale in November and is scheduled to start shipping today, has a touch screen that allows readers to highlight, take notes and look up words on the device’s built-in dictionary.