I'm a WSJ subscriber at Audible.com. I listen to the Morning Edition during my 50 minute morning commute and the Weekend Edition while driving around on weekends. I listen to every single download in its entirety and find it a much more productive and informative way to spend my commute than listening to the radio. I wouldn't be able to find the time to sit down and read the same stories during the day that I hear during my commute.
We get our local Sunday paper delivered to the house (Worcester Telegram & Gazette
) which also includes Thursday's edition. My wife and I rarely read any considerable portion of the newspaper, and end up with quite a large stack of papers for the recycle bin with a lot of that being unread. The T&G has an electronic version with full content available online for subscribers, and I would really like an optimized version for my Zodiac delivered automatically every morning as well as a spoken word version to go along with my WSJ listening.
I also have noticed that my reading habits have changed: I read traditional books (hardcovers and paperbacks) as well as onscreen text/PDF's/ebooks on my desktop, laptop, and Zodiac. Reading the large format of the newspaper seems unweildy and cumbersome when compared to traditional books and electronic media.
If I was a train or bus commuter, or spent a lot of time in the air, I'd definitely go with electronic ink versions of my favorite publications if available.
If my media consumption habits aren't unique, I think this illustrates that for a lot of people, the newspaper is losing it's appeal and is a waste of paper. With the electronic versions, whether spoken word like Audible.com and podcasts or electronic text, they're more portable, convenient, in-line with people's reading habits, and environmentally friendly.
I'd really like to see a standardized e-ink newspaper format that would be ideally suited to ebook readers for PDAs, laptops, tablets and the rumored mini-tablets that are just around the corner.
I think more newpapers should follow the WSJ with different electronic versions of their publications: If they don't, I think their subscription rates as well as profits will drop. As ebooks become more mainstream (crossing fingers) I hope we'll see digital media increasingly replace traditional print media.