We’ve gotten so used to telephone companies offering discounted netbooks to customers that sign up for a mobile broadband plan that it’s barely news anymore when a company adds a new model to its line of subsidized netbooks. But the New York Times isn’t a phone company. So I was a bit surprised to see that the paper is working with Samsung to offer a $100 discount for customers that pick up a Samsung N310 “Go” netbook when they sign up for a one-year subscription to the Times Reader software.

Times Reader is a pretty nifty PC application that makes reading the Times more like reading the paper edition and less like reading a web page. A one year subscription costs $179.40. Of course, you could read most of the same content on the web for free, buy a netbook for full price, and save $79.40.

The netbook will be available exclusively from J&R, with the company selling it for $279.99 after discount. That’s a pretty good price for this attractive netbook. But the deal’s only good if you see value in the Times Reader software, or if you’re desperate to prove that you’re still willing to pay for the news even if you’re more likely to read it on a PC than stain your hands with ink.

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