It took me about 2 hours to pick out 10 articles I wanted. Once I got past about 5, I figured I might as well use it up the whole quota. I wasn't confident that I would get back here and use up the last 5 within my 30 day limit. I'm not an NYT regular yet.
All my articles were about China. I think I pretty well cleaned out the articles of interest since January of 2003. SARs was taking up a lot of ink in 2003, so that limited the output of other more interesting articles on China.
Here are the other 9 articles I bought today:
- Shanghai Journal; Splendid Skyline. Do You Feel Something Sinking?
- Shanghai Journal; All Aboard! But Don't Relax. Your Trip Is Already Over.
- North of Beijing, California Dreams Come True
- Beijing Journal; Chinese Take Recklessly to Cars (Just Count the Wrecks)
- Beijing Journal; A Factory Is Transformed by the Art of Real Estate
- Beijing Journal; Why Is That Woman Reading Aloud in Heavy Traffic?
- Beijing Journal; Sadly, There Goes the Neighborhood. There's No Stopping 'Urban Renewal.'
- Beijing Leaders' Populist Touch Is Not Felt by Most Rural Poor
- Chinese Official Fights Corruption, and Loses, for Now
So I spent $15.95 on this nice little mix of short articles. Was it worth it? Maybe. I have to say that Ted C. Fishman's book, China, Inc. beats the heck out of them for sheer quantity and depth of information and I spent about a dollar more on it. The writing is possibly better in the short articles, but Fishman is a good writer too - he's written for NYT, Harper's, Time and Esquire. The Amazon price on the new hardback is $17 bucks. In this case the book won. Other times, especially with time critical information, the articles might win.
But, Amazon wins by a mile in user experience. I found that it was pretty slow going searching through the NYT archives to find the best stuff. I couldn't force it to give me two separate words like China + lifestyles unless I put them together as a phrase which was too limiting. Using the two words without quotes gave me all sorts of lifestyles information about other places besides China.
I felt a little like I was slogging through sand. It wasn't the snappy experience that might have had me going back right away. This is one of those cases where an improved shopping and buying experience would lead to lots more sales.
Another thing I wanted to mention is that I really like the New York Times, but I don't want the huge amounts of paper I would get if I subscribed to the paper version. And I'm not big on ink either.
About halfway through, I decided to Google to see what kind of information I could get. The results weren't very satisfying. I got little teaser articles or short blurbs.
Then I tried the Newsweek website to see what they had on China, thinking a weekly magazine could go into more depth. They did. I found only one article of interest, but it was almost 4000 words. They charge $2.95 for a single article - a better price than NYT. The article I bought individually was called Does the Future Belong to China? It was worth the $2.95 I would say. This was a big overview kind of piece. Not as many interesting little stories, but well done and recommended if you haven't seen it and want to better understand China. Part 1.