Detroit Media Partnership has announced that it will launch a trial with Plastic Logic to distribute the company's e-reader as part of its plan to convert to a more web-centric distribution model on 30 March, reported NewsandTech.com. Although the product will not be released until 2010, DMP has obtained 100 of the large display e-readers which it will trial with readers of the electronic editions of The Detroit News and the Detroit Free Press.
DMP CEO Dave Hunke said that the publisher is working with Plastic Logic to develop a lease plan that would enable DMP subscribers to rent the readers, and DMP will use the next few months to establish pricing and availability details. DMP has been cutting down its print distribution costs to focus more on digital news: in December, the publisher announced that it would cut home delivery of its papers to Thursday, Friday and Sunday. The two publications will continue to be printed on the days they are not delivered, but joined into a single paper.
Could leasing such devices to readers work as a strategy to get more people paying to read electronic editions of newspapers? The high cost of an e-reader (around $350 for an Amazon Kindle) would certainly put many people off purchasing one: if renting one was affordable, it might well be more widely taken up. Media commentator Steve Ruble recently suggested that newspaper companies subsidise the Kindle for their readers, offering it at a lower price with their publications already loaded. Both of these concepts have potential, arguably particularly for the Plastic Logic reader whose larger screen is more suited to consuming newspaper and magazine content.