From the Great Ideas Department of the Nieman Journalism Lab’s website today comes a semi-sarcastic yet truly brilliant advice-essay from Rex Sorgatz, who has just succeeded in handing the New York Times their next million dollar idea … for free! (Nice guy, huh?)

I’ll skip the paraphrasing and let those of you who are interested in such things read Sorgatz’s piece yourselves. But the gist of it is this:

He’s proposing that as part of the Times’ ongoing effort to stave off bankruptcy, they create an exclusive and trendy membership club that comes with discounted access to various Times-produced content and events. (Sorgatz even went so far as to design a spiffy AmEx Black Card lookalike, which we’ve thoughtfully reproduced for you above.)

What’s the e-book tie-in, you ask? Again, it’s another whip-smart Sorgatz idea:

“I’m sure every Times writer has a Kindle Single in them,” he says. “Every writer should be given a Google-like 10 percent of their time to write longer pieces to become digital books. NYT has already started down the ebook path, but a much better strategy than nickel-and-diming for a $6 ebook would be to make it free with a digital membership. The revenue math on this is a no-brainer: You have to sell 32 ebooks to equal one digital subscription.”

As someone who is attempting to read every book ever written by a Times writer before he dies (yep, I’m serious), that’s an idea I can get behind.


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