Two weeks ago, spokesmen for the New York Times responded with blithe confidence to the news that USA Today would be joining their paper on newsstands in Starbucks stores across the nation. "Ten years ago when we first negotiated the contract with Starbucks, it was a different universe," a spokeswoman told Ad Age at the time. "Competition has increased exponentially. But, we have a strong affinity with our readers and believe they will continue to select The New York Times, just as they do now when they have a choice." But now that the coffee giant has agreed to sell The Wall Street Journal alongside those two papers at 450 New York City area cafés, the competition has heated up. The Journal's inclusion at the popular chain comes right before the long-awaited launch of their New York section, which is designed specifically to lure readers and advertisers away from the Times. Still, the Times appears unperturbed.
"We are delighted to continue our longstanding relationship, now going on 10 years, with Starbucks. We understand they are adding another newspaper in addition to The New York Times, USA Today and other local papers and that’s fine. Customers will have more choices, just like they do online and on every newsstand," a spokeswoman e-mailed us just now. "The Wall Street Journal will be available in 450 stores; The New York Times and USA Today are available in approximately 6,500 Starbucks nationwide." So far, the Journal and Starbucks have declined to comment on whether the Journal's distribution would expand to the rest of the country.