Amazon founder and the soon-to-be new owner of The Washington Post told NBC News’ Kate Snow that “Someday” The Washington Post may not exist in print.
Bezos said it could be decades before that occurs, but likened printed newspapers to horses, which he said were a “luxury item:”
I think printed newspapers on actual paper may be a luxury item. It’s sort of like, you know, people still have horses, but it’s not their primary way of commuting to the office.
He probably could have found a better analogy, but in general it was an interesting glimpse into the mind of the man who recently agreed to plunk down $250 million in cash to buy the ailing newspaper from the Graham family.
Even though Bezos’ purchase of the Post is being financed from his personal fortune and is separate from the publicly held Amazon, the purchase nonetheless puzzled observers who couldn’t figure out why one of the most successful online entrepreneurs would buy a printed newspaper when consumers are increasingly receiving their news online or on their smartphones.
But buying the Post was more about Bezos saving one of the leading newspapers in the country—a paper that aligns with his political views—than about his belief that the newspaper itself is a long-term viable business.
And despite the fact that Bezos said it might be decades before the Post ceases printing, he would be smart to not wait too long to make that decision, unless he wants to watch part of his fortune dribble away.