Government_Offices_Great_George_StreetThere’s a puzzling story in the Press Gazette that on first glance seems to demonstrate the cost benefits of switching to reading news digitally, but on closer inspection I’m not so sure.

The thrust of the article seems to be that Chancellor George Osborne has decreased the UK Treasury’s spending on media substantially over the last seven years. The headline says the Treasury saved £157,000 per year “by reading newspapers online,” but there’s not any mention of online reading within the body of the article. All it really says is that the Treasury has stopped buying so many newspapers and magazines as part of the effort to help cut the deficit. It doesn’t actually say how or why.

That said, it’s hard to deny that reading newspaper articles online tends to cost a lot less than subscribing to the print edition of a paper—at least for those papers that don’t have paywalls. And if you’re a government employee and your employer stops buying you the print edition of the paper, maybe reading online is what you do instead. After all, you still have to get your news somehow.

It’s only too bad e-books don’t work the same way, with publishers frequently charging more for the digital edition of their work than Amazon does for the print edition.

(Image credit: Carlos Delgado; CC-BY-SA)


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