I just cancelled my NYTimes tablet subscription. I paid $0.99 for a one month trial and after reading the Times pretty enthusiastically for about two weeks found I just wasn’t reading it enough to justify the (non-trial) cost. A pity.

Canceling was easy but required a phone call (no time on hold though, and no annoying surrender script, and no they don’t offer you discounts).

I liked the NYTimes iPad app. Mostly. Unlike any magazine app it downloaded articles on the fly rather than requiring ridiculously huge downloads. The only annoying aspect is that sometimes you’d be viewing a headline page and it would refresh out from under you. They need to rethink that. It is clearly not doing ads intelligently or at some point I would have stopped seeing ads for high end Italian fashion labels.

The other great New York publication that isn’t getting any money from me any longer is the New Yorker. I’ve been a subscriber pretty much the entire time I’ve lived in the US, but I have found that I prefer visiting the website to either the physical magazine (which piles up in our house unread) or — shudder — the app, which takes ages to download each bloated issue.

I love both publications, but the New York Times online pricing isn’t pitched right for me. I hope it knows what it’s doing, and its software doesn’t suck. The New Yorker needs to fix its software (or build them into its website), and offer online only subscriptions that pass on savings from print and improved advertising models to customers.

I hope they can both figure out how to survive, but for now I’m freeloading off both of them.

Post Script

The New York Times just reduced the number of free article views you get each month. So they clearly get the message that the value differential between non-paying customer and paying customer isn’t well-matched by the pricing for full access. I hope they can figure out how to get this to work, but I think the key is not to send me ads for expensive Italian women’s shoes and movies about psychotic ballerinas rather than trying to annoy me into subscribing at too high a price or charge extra for accessing the same content in more different ways.