Print newspapers still dominate in Britain

The Sunday Times, 6/18

We brought our laptops to London, but I’ve been enjoying Britain’s print newspapers: at breakfast, in our room — or in the lobby of our hotel, sometimes with soft piano music playing in the background. The newspaper selection at the front desk is endless, like at a library: The Daily Telegraph, The Times and the Financial Times are my standbys.

The newspaper are all full of thoughtful stories, and bright, colorful photos and graphics — all on a broadsheet, not shrunken down like their U.S. counterparts. It’s a throwback to the ’70s, when U.S. print journalism was much healthier.

This morning’s edition of The Sunday Times has a “thumb sucker” (newspaper talk for a “think piece”) on’s purchase of Whole Foods for $13.7bn (£10.7bn) last week.  The headline was more clever than what you read at home: “Alexa, what should we do next? Take over the world Jeff.”

The page included a big photo of Amazon founder and chief executive Jeff Bezos, along with a well-done writeup. “Amazon’s tentacles are spreading into every corner of the economy,” it noted. This was print journalism in all its glory.

As the Guardian noted: “Of course, the long-term trend for print is irreversibly downwards, but in the UK at least it still dominates much of people’s media consumption, and newspapers like the Mail and Telegraph are likely to see their profitability remain robust for many years to come.

It added: Half of Britons still buy print newspapers and a further 10 percent read papers bought by others, compared to only 31 percent who read stories online on newspapers’ websites daily, according to Deloitte report on media consumption in the UK.

Even in the online world, some of the newspapers also are resisting “paywalls.” An announcement on the Guardian’s online site reads” “Unlike many others, we haven’t put up a paywall — we want to keep our journalism as open as we can. Support us at £5 per month.” At home, it’s akin to the YubaNet model (not The Union).

Author: jeffpelline

Jeff Pelline is a veteran editor and award-winning journalist - in print and online. He is publisher of Sierra FoodWineArt magazine and its website Jeff covered business and technology for The San Francisco Chronicle for 12 years, and he was a founding editor and Editor of CNET News for eight years, among other positions. Jeff has a bachelor's degree from UC Berkeley and a master's from Northwestern University. His hobbies include sailing, swimming, and trout fishing in the Sierra.

4 thoughts on “Print newspapers still dominate in Britain”

  1. I took a look at the simple list of mergers and acquisitions Amazon has engaged in and was kind of amazed….I was particularly struck by the number of products they acquired that I used before they acquired them and thought about how my habits have changed under Amazon ownership…then looked at some of the other companies listed at the bottom of the wikipedia page….Apple, Google, Facebook and Microsoft….to be honest I’m not sure this practice of concentration of power within emerging industries has ever been different in the history of capitalism…unti the next disruption canoes along.

  2. Great point.

    Here’s an exchange on Facebook this week between Jon Swartz, a former colleague who is the tech editor for USA Today, and Roger McNamee, a well known Silicon Valley venture capitalist (

    Jon Swartz —
    Is there a topic/issue/trend in tech in which you would like to see more coverage? Something outside the normal day-to-day stories?

    Roger McNamee —
    The challenges to the economy and culture posed by internet monopolies …. with a special focus on mind hacking as practiced by FB and Google.

    BTW, speaking of Roger, he is in a band that has played in Nevada City, at the Crazy Horse, no less:’s-told-through-music-art Ha!

  3. Poor “Bored” Georgeman is defending The Union’s “paywall.” I guess that’s what happens when you’re “on the dole” as a paid weekly columnist.

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