Regular readers will know I haven’t bought a newspaper or magazine in two years. Nor have I been tempted to riffle through a real printed book. No, I have embraced digital publishing with enthusiasm. I unashamedly consume as much free stuff as I can get. When it comes to the digital revolution, Citizen Robespierre has nothing on me (tomorrow is Bastille Day, did I mention?).
This brings me to explain how you can snaffle yourself a free iPad every year. It’s all a matter of not buying magazines and newspapers, really. Before the revolution I would regularly buy several computer magazines, a quartet of car rags, two dailies and a Sunday newspaper, plus a couple of camera monthlies. All this paper (which, of course, had to be recycled by me and by my local authority¹) cost sixteen pounds a week or £836 a year. This enormous sum buys a 64GB 3G iPad with spare change to fuel a 3G SIM card for a year.
Despite all this economic equilibrium, I’m not sure how much longer it can last. I no longer read The Times since it went behind Murdoch’s paywall and, in reality, I am now left with a choice of only three daily newspapers: the Mail, the Telegraph and the Guardian. The first is a just a tad too illiberal for my taste while the last is, well, the Guardian. I wouldn’t like to be seen in public reading it. So I’m currently stuck with the Telegraph web site.
This is a newspaper with which I don’t always see eye to eye, but it does have a good campaigning history. And a copy under the arm is a surefire way to get out of jury service. With the Guardian on view you are definitely marked for selection by the defence counsel.
Actually, I did once fall out with the Telegraph over a particular piece of illiberalism (which was then more common), probably something to do with religious bigotry or homophobia. It was in the days of the editorship of Bill Deedes. I wrote a fiery missive announcing that I had cancelled my subscription. Back came a short note from Deedes: “Dear Mr. Evans, Goodbye.”
If all newspapers disappear behind a paywall I could have to revise my habits. It might indeed be Goodbye. Can I survive on a diet of online newspapers or will I be forced to get out my credit card? In the meanwhile, I am enjoying my FREE iPad. And unlike all that newsprint, I can flog it on eBay for £400 when I’m done with it. Now I come to think, I’m making a profit.
¹ Our borough-issue paper recycling bag regularly blows away because it is so light. It’s like a blue kite. The Guardian would be proud of me as I do my bit in the war against global warming.