I haven't subscribed to the online version of The New Yorker for awhile. I recently signed up again to see that it still renders all its archived articles as images, not text and even more mind bogglingly, current articles that it makes available to subscribers only, that is, a semi-paywall.
An aside, the online only subscription process is dodgy. It took me more than an hour to get it working with the help of online chat/phone. The registration e-mail contained no instructions on how to activate the online archive portion of my account. Even though I disabled all ad blocking extensions, the activate link on the login popup didn't show on Chrome and I overlooked the link in Safari and Firefox - how about bolding the activate link? Also, I couldn't disable the auto-renewal option myself. That was most definitely not my fault. And auto-renewal, though a common practice - that's a bit of a dick move.
Back to the text issue. By rendering archived articles as images instead of text, it makes the reading interface is so balky, so clumsy. Basics such as adjusting font size and just getting around is like walking in knee deep mud compared to smoothly paved concrete, on a browser or mobile app.
Compared to the experience of Readability, Instapaper, Pocket, etc... it's night and day. With those, I can change font type, font size, toggle night mode, adjust margins and line spacing. Even the Amazon Kindle app is a far cry better and it's what I'd consider one of the less fully featured reading apps. You can't search.
I don't know if The New Yorker has already scanned all of its issues and converted them to text or not. If they haven't, look at what Google has done to scan countless numbers of books, some of which are delicate and OCR'd them all for public availability. All the New Yorker has is 12 issues a year going back to 1925. That's not a lot of scanning to do compared to what Google did and there are many clever scanning devices out there that aren't crazy expensive.
If The New Yorker has converted everything to text and just isn't making it available to the general public, then shame on you. At least render the current issue's paywalled articles as text. I realize it's a great deal to get access to the archives at no extra cost, but at $70/year, The New Yorker is not exactly cheap. I'd rather pay a lower subscription fee with no archive and pay per archived article and get it rendered it as text.
And now we come to the crux of the point I want to make. I'm guessing one by-product of rendering articles as images that The New Yorker is well aware of is you can't cut and paste. Sort of like text DRM. So this forces some people to subscribe. Why not design something that renders back issues as text so one can reap all the benefits of rendered text but disable the ability to cut and paste? And even though you can't cut & paste text from images, you still can do screen captures.
I love reading The New Yorker, there's so much great writing, but is the digital reading experience commensurate with writing quality? Not so much. You've basically steampunked it, New Yorker. Come to the present.#thenewyorker