Technology, not journalism, is Mr Bezos’s passion. So far he has been the sort of proprietor newshounds dream of, with a light touch on editorial matters and a willingness to finance experimentation and bear losses.
Much as Mr Bezos has made his e-commerce firm concentrate on building scale first, and worrying about profits later, he is making his newspaper concentrate first on building a broader national and international audience.
The Post has introduced a “partner” programme, in which it offers free access to its articles for subscribers of other papers such as the Dallas Morning News, if they sign in with their e-mail addresses. Logged-in readers like these are more valuable to a paper and its advertisers than anonymous ones, because the ads can be tailored to match whatever is known about their interests. So far more than 270 papers have signed on. This resembles how Amazon achieves dominance in its markets by gathering data on customers, the better to sell them stuff.
Here too, thePost is putting scale before profit: the Kindle version is free for the first six months and $1 for the next six (the cost is higher on other devices).
In a parallel of sorts with the cloud-computing service that Amazon sells to businesses, the Post is also trying to become a technology provider to the news industry.