Borrowing a newspaper for 10 cents
Everyone loves to read newspapers. Well, I might be exaggerating here. With television and satellites, the concept of newsprint maybe going out of the window.
But this is not strictly true either. Newspapers have continued. There are still many people around the world who look to read from print and paper.
The Japanese for instance are avid readers of anything and everything they can get their hands on to, and they read a lot of newspapers and comic books!
We in Jordan are a bit funny were newspapers are concerned as we have a love hate relationship with them. For a population of going on to seven million, we have five daily newspapers, but a multitude of weeklies who rant on just about anything to help them sell and sell.
And despite this, Jordanians aren’t really regarded as a great reading public. Very few say to themselves, I'll buy the newspaper, and see what's in the news, no, they are satisfied with the terrestrial channel and the satellites that beam in every home.
However a very interesting phenomena came to be noticed on the horizons from at least the 1990s and even much more before that blustering decade for newspapers had existed in Jordan since the early 1920s.
Little corner shops were hiring out different newspapers for as much as an hour a day for half of what it would cost to readers who were willing to scan the pages for news, and no doubt ads.
A man or a woman for that matter would enter the shop, pay their pennies, sorry cents, hire the newspaper, go off somewhere, read it and return it a bit latter, available for someone else to hire, an element of the intellectual merry-go-round.
This was a good thing in more than one because it helped the circulation going particularly in places and neighborhoods where people counted their reading habits by their piastas, fils and dinars (sorry, again cents and dollars). It was also a bit of cultural spice, because some of these people were not reading as nearly as enough.
This sort of thing wasn't actually official but there were always rumors newspaper owners where in cahoots with the local shops to encourage the "hiring out" of newspapers in a bid to increase readership and circulation. As the dictum goes more readers better newspapers, or more readers better surviving newspapers.
Everyone had a stake. It was also rumored as well that these little shops were getting more than they deserved as they would order say two or three newspapers but higher them out as much as 10 times or more depending of course on the brisk trade, and pocketing the meager difference.
In a way the words were doing the donkey work for these small-time shop keepers, being there just to make newspapers sell.