The newly announced Starbucks Content Network will distribute to Starbucks patrons original Yahoo offerings and free, complete access to paywall sites, such as WSJ.com.

The initiative brings to mind the role coffeehouses played in the budding, modern world of 18th-century London. They would subscribe to and make generally available newspapers, such as the Guardian, the Tatler, and the Spectator. Patrons would congregate, exchange news of the day, conduct business, and of course, buy coffee. The reading and re-reading of each copy thrilled those such as Joseph Addison, who boasted thousands of readers beyond the actual circulation.

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