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Starbucks replaces print newspapers with complimentary digital access

Customers can read some of America's leading newspapers for free.


Esther Bell


Posted on Oct 3, 2019   Updated on May 20, 2021, 2:17 am CDT

Starbucks announced this week it would offer complimentary digital access to a variety of newspapers in place of the print papers that used to be carried in stores.

Starbucks customers can now enjoy online access to the Wall Street Journal, USA Today, Seattle Times, Chicago Tribune, Baltimore Sun, Orlando Sentinel, and New York Daily News through Starbucks’ Wi-Fi at all company-operated U.S. locations, according to a Starbucks press release

Starbucks made the decision to stop stocking print newspapers in stores in September. Though an official reason was never cited, the New York Post reports it was partly due to “shrinkage,” an industry term that refers to lost or stolen items. 

Starbucks has confirmed it is looking to reduce all products sold in-store. Scrapping print papers reflects a changing media landscape, and there is speculation that not enough customers were reading print papers. Print newspaper sales from 2018 to 2019 decreased 12% for weekly papers and 13% for Sunday papers, according to Pew Research Center. However, while digital traffic is more difficult to track, Pew Research reports that digital readership is on the rise.

Starbucks released a statement saying “It has been our vision that Starbucks remains a unique and sought out destination complemented by elevated digital relationships with our customers…This is just the beginning. We will continue to listen and learn from our customers, looking for new opportunities to deliver news, content and experiences that are relevant to our customers, inspiring to our partners and meaningful to our communities.”


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*First Published: Oct 3, 2019, 4:53 pm CDT