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Dear Wall Street Journal, I’m unsubscribing. Here’s why:

I just wanted to write and let you know that I will be canceling my Kindle subscription to your newspaper. Let me begin by sharing with you an email I received this morning from the Amazon Kindle Team:


As a Kindle subscriber, we would like to inform you of a price change to The Wall Street Journal.

Effective May 22nd, 2009 the price of The Wall Street Journal has changed to $14.99/month for new subscribers. As an existing subscriber to The Wall Street Journal you will continue to be billed at the previous rate of $9.99/month for your next two renewal charges after which you will be billed at the new rate of $14.99/month.

We believe that the Kindle edition of The Wall Street Journal continues to provide excellent value for customers with a free 14 day trial period, wireless delivery via Whispernet, no long-term commitments, and substantial savings vs. regular print subscription rates.

As always you are free to cancel your subscription at any time. If you are still in the 14 day free trial period of your subscription you will not be charged, otherwise you will receive a prorated refund for the unused portion of your subscription. To change or cancel a subscription please visit: http://www.amazon.com/manageyourkindle


The Amazon Kindle team

I’ve taken the liberty of bolding a few parts of the above email in order to better illustrate why I am unsubscribing.

The claim “substantial savings vs. regular print subscription rates” in reference to a $14.99 per month rate is simply a bold-faced lie, and I thought you should know that the Amazon Kindle team is sending out emails that lie about how much the Kindle subscription to your publication costs in comparison to the paper version.

As you clearly advertise on your online site, the print journal costs $2.29 a week which comes to $119.08 a year compared to the $179.88 that the Amazon Kindle team is now asking me to pay a year to subscribe to a version of your paper that costs less to produce and which lacks many of the pictures and several sections of the print paper. Granted it also lacks advertising, and while I can appreciate that that is why the online version of the Wall Street Journal is cheaper than all the other versions (having a lower cost to produce and the added revenue gained by advertisements), it still doesn’t account for Amazon’s Kindle team sending an emailed lie to me and all your other Kindle subscribers in your name.

Also, please take note that I was already paying more for the Kindle edition of the Wall Street Journal than the paper version costs, as at the current rate of $9.99 per month, the The Wall Street Journal for the Kindle would cost me $119.88 per year, $0.80 more than the print version.

I think you should know, I like a lot of the writing that comes from your publication and I respect many of your writers, although I do strongly believe that some of your writers hold an anti-blogging agenda—whether consciously or not. I’m actually rooting for you and some of the other newspapers not to fail, but I’m growing more and more pessimistic about a long-term positive outcome for you and your kind.

While I have your ear, I should also point out one other short-falling that has lent to my decision to terminate my subscription, and which may be indicative of the larger whole of failing subscribers in your industry (though I applaud you for being one of the few publications to, so far, sidestep this trend). From Wednesday onward on most weeks, I notice that there are a growing number of reprinted articles in the paper.

You’re fighting a battle for the attention of audiences against up-to-the-minute reporting on television and up-to-the-second reporting online and you choose to reprint articles? People will always have an interest in in-depth reporting and the types of thoughtful pieces that can be found in the Journal, but no one has any interest for reruns. It comes across as if you are phoning it in. Also, unlike your previous battle with television news, there are no commercial breaks or set amounts of air-time to prevent online writers and publications from producing in-depth reporting and thoughtful pieces alongside their up-to-the-second coverage.

In any case, thanks for reading this letter. I would appreciate an emailed apology from yourselves and from the Amazon Kindle team for lying to me and all other current The Wall Street Journal for the Kindle subscribers.


C.K. Sample III

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